Tongue twisters are short, fun texts that can be repeated over and over again to improve the pronunciation of words or unions of words that are more difficult. The beauty of tongue twisters is that they are phrases made up of words with similar sounds, which, when put together, are difficult to pronounce fluently, both for native speakers and for those who are not. For this reason, they represent an articulatory challenge for everyone. The challenge is to pronounce them quickly without making any mistakes.
Tongue twisters are usually word games that combine similar phonemes (minimum sound units) frequently enough to create rhymes. They constitute a type of popular literature of an oral nature present in many languages.
Origin of tongue twisters
The origin of tongue twisters is unclear, but some studies place them in Ancient Greece, where the wise men began to use riddles, paradoxes and word games for educational purposes. Greek culture admired the level of knowledge and skill in reading. Therefore, those who managed to pronounce tongue twisters well should dedicate themselves to oratory or intellectual work versus those who should commit themselves to physical work.
Since those who pronounced words correctly were admired for their knowledge and good reading, tongue twisters were an excellent way to learn and develop the mind.
The benefit of tongue twisters
1. They promote reading fluency: The faster you learn to recite them, the greater your fluency when speaking and reading. In addition, it promotes reading fluency and improves reading speed and pauses.
2. Improves vocalisation: Saying a tongue twister forces you to try to properly vocalise each phoneme and letter (especially those which usually show problems, such as ‘r’) in a fun way. It is like speech therapy but in a relaxed environment.
3. They increase vocabulary: Practising words you do not know that are similar to others you already know makes remembering them easier and using them later.
Now that you know more about tongue twisters, let’s see how good you are!
- “Tres tristes tigres trigo comían en un trigal”
- “Cuando cuentes cuentos
cuenta cuantos cuentos cuentas,
porque si no cuentas
cuántos cuentos cuentas
nunca sabrás cuántos cuentos sabes contar”.
- “El rey de Constantinopla
se quiere descontantinopolizar
aquel lo descontantinopolice
buen descontantinopolizador será”.