Tongue twisters

From ‘Around the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran’ to ‘red leather, yellow leather’, one aspect of mastering a language is being able to master its tongue twisters. They are always decidedly odd sentences:

  • Combien de sous sont ces saucissons-ci? Ces saucissons-ci sont six sous (French): “How much are these sausages here? These sausages here are six cents”.

  • Zwei schwarze schleimige Schlangen sitzen zwischen zwei spitzen Steinen und zischen (German): “Two black slimy snakes sit between two pointed stones and hiss”.


Other favourites in the European arena include:

  • Měla babka v kapse brabce, brabec babce v kapse píp. Zmáčkla babka brabce v kapse, brabec babce v kapse chcíp (Czech): ”Grandma had a sparrow in her pocket and the sparrow made a sound. Grandma pressed the sparrow and it died”.

  • Als vliegen achter vliegen vliegen, vliegen vliegen vliegensvlug (Dutch): ”If flies fly behind flies, flies will fly like lightning”.

  • Król Karol kupił Królowej Karolinie korale koloru koralowego (Polish): ”King Karl bought Queen Caroline coral-colored bead”.

  • Far, Får får får? Nej, får får inte får, får får lamm (Swedish): ”Father, do sheep have sheep? No, sheep don't have sheep, sheep have lambs”.

  • W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie (Polish): "In the town of Szczebrzeszyn a beetle buzzes in the reeds".

    As for the English language, we are provided with the following:

  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood that he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood
  • Sister Sue sells sea shells. She sells sea shells on shore. The shells she sells. Are sea shells she sees. Sure she sees shells she sells
  • You've known me to light a night light on a light night like tonight. There's no need to light a night light on a light night like tonight, for a night light's a slight light on tonight's light night

Some short words or phrases ‘become’ tongue-twisters when repeated, a number of times fast (try it!):

  • Thin Thing
  • French Friend
  • Red Leather, Yellow Leather
  • Unique New York
  • Sometimes Sunshine
  • Irish Wristwatch
  • Big Whip

Some suggestions from visitors:


O tempo perguntou ao tempo quanto tempo o tempo tem. O tempo respondeu ao tempo que o tempo tem tanto tempo quanto tempo o tempo tem.

Time asked time how much time time has. Time replied to time that time has as much time as time has


Três tristes tigres

Three sad tigers


თეთრი თრითინა თეთრ თოვლზე თრთოდა

A white weasel was shivering on white snow.


Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa.

Above the bench the goat lives, under the bench the goat cracks.


Un vultur sta pe pisc cu un pix in plisc.

An eagle sits on a peak with a pen in its beak.


Na štriku se suši šareni šosić

colorful skirt is dried on the stove


Oaia aia e a ei, eu i-o iau.

That sheep is hers, I will take it.


на врх брда врба мрда.

(Na vrh brda vrba mrda) On top of the hill a willow is moving


Μια πάπια μα ποια πάπια μια πάπια με παπιά

A duck but what a duck, a duck with a duckling


Μια τίγρη μα ποια τίγρης - Μια τίγρη με τρία τιγράκια

A tiger, but which tiger? A tiger with three tiger cubs


Ανεβαίνω, κατεβαίνω, μπαινοβγαίνω κι ανεβομπαινοβγαινοκαταβαίνω. Βρίσκω πόρτες κλειδωτές, κλειδωμένες και κλειδαροαμπαρωμένες.

I go up, down, in and out and up and out and down. I find doors locked, locked and padlocked.


Šešios žąsys su šešiais žąsyčiais

Six geese with six goslings


Άσπρη πέτρα ξέξασπρη κι από τόν ήλιο ξεξασπρότερη (aspri petra xexaspri ki apo ton ilio xexasproteri)

White rock, a lot white and because of the sun whiter that before


Rød grød med fløde

Red pudding with cream


Fischer‘s Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischer‘ Fritz

a fisherman fishes fresh fish….


Kummikutega kummitus kummitas kummutis

A ghost wearing wellies was haunting in the chest of drawers


gervė gyrūnė gyrėsi gerą girą gėrusi geroj girioj gerai gėrusi

a good drinker boasted a good drink of good wood


Un chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien est un bon chasseur.

A hunter that knows how to hunt without his dog is a good hunter.


Stół z powyłamywanymi nogami

A table with broken legs


Egy icike-picike pocok pocakon pöckölt egy másik icike-picike pockot, erre a pockonpöckölt icike-picike pocok pocakon pöckölte a pocakon pöckölő icike-picike pockot

A teeny-weeny vole flicked another teeny-weeny vole on its stomach, so the stomach-flicked teeny-weeny vole flicked the stomach-flicking teeny-weeny vole on its stomach.


Betty bought some butter, but the butter Betty bought was bitter, so she bought some better butter than the bitter butter Betty bought before.


Na bac le mac an mbacaigh, 'gus ní bacaigh mac an mbacaigh leat!

Don't bother with the baker's son and the baker's son won't bother you!


Fem flade flødeboller på et fladt flødebollefad

Five flat cakes on a flat cakeboard


Riba ribi grize rep,pa joj odgrizne rep.

Fish bite fish`s tail,then she bite it off.


¿Cómo quieres que te quiera si el que quiero que me quiera no me quiere como quiero que me quiera?

How can I love you if the one I want to love me doesn't love me the way I want him to love me?


Podstata podstaty je v podstate nepodstatná.

The essence of the essence is essentially non-essential.


Strč prst skrz krk.

Put your finger through your neck.


Há quatro quadros três e três quadros quatro. Sendo que quatro destes quadros são quadrados, um dos quadros quatro e três dos quadros três. Os três quadros que não são quadrados são dois dos quadros quatro e um dos quadros três.

There are four frame three and three frame four. Four of these frames are squares, one of frames four and three of frames three. The three frames that are not squares are two of frames four and one of frames three.


Concluímos que chegamos à conclusão que não concluímos nada. Por isso, conclui-se que a conclusão será concluída quando todas tiverem concluído que já é tempo de concluir uma conclusão.

We conclude that we have reached the conclusion that we have concluded nothing. Therefore, it is concluded that the conclusion will be completed when everyone has concluded that it is time to complete a conclusion.


O doce perguntou pro doce qual é o doce mais doce que o doce de batata-doce. O doce respondeu pro doce que o doce mais doce que o doce de batata-doce é o doce de doce de batata-doce.

The candy asked the candy which candy is sweeter than the sweet potato candy. The candy replied to the candy that the candy sweeter than the sweet potato candy is the sweet potato candy.


Sabendo o que sei e sabendo o que sabes e o que não sabes e o que não sabemos, ambos saberemos se somos sábios, sabidos ou simplesmente saberemos se somos sabedores-

Knowing what I know and knowing what you know and what you don't know and what we don't know, we'll both know if we're wise, wise, or we'll simply know if we're wise.


Se percebeste, percebeste. Se não percebeste, faz que percebeste para que eu perceba que tu percebeste. Percebeste?

If you understand, you understand. If you don't understand, make sure you understand so I can understand that you understand. Did you understand?


Levy sa váľali dolu lávou do válova.

The lions rolled down the lava into the rampart.


Sex laxar i en laxask.

Six salmons in a salmon box.


Ο παπάς ο παχύς έφαγε παχιά φακή. Γιατί παπά παχύ έφαγες παχιά φακή;

The overweight priest ate thick lentils. Why did you overweight priest ate thick lentils?


Řek mi řek, abych mu řek, kolik je v řecku řeckých řek, a já mu řek že nejsem řek, abych mu řek kolik je v řecku řeckých řek.

Greek told me to tell him how many Greek rivers are there in Greece and I told him, I'm not Greek to tell him how many Greek rivers there are in Greece.


Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.

Red cabbage is red cabbage and a wedding dress is a wedding dress.


Petar Petru plete petlju.

Peter ties a knot to Peter.


Шише се суши, на шосе се суши.

A bottle is drying, on a road, is drying.


Šašo suší osušku.

The clown dries a towel.


Šašo suší osušku.

The clown dries a towel.

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