A tongue twister is a phrase designed to be difficult to articulate, and can be used as a spoken (or sung) word game. Tongue twisters can be both confusing and humorous when mispronounced, and have even been known to be a bit vulgar. A tongue twister is usually reliant on rapid alternation between similar yet distinct phonemes (units of sound), unfamiliar constructs in loanwords, or features borrowed from spoken language. An example would be the famous, “She sells seashells by the sea shore.” Today is International Tongue Twisters Day.
In honor of today’s holiday Brittany and I spent some time scouring the internet for the best tongue twisters out there. In our quest for the most twisted phrases out there we came across some interesting facts. Did you know that just about every language has tongue twisters? There is even a term for hard to sign phrases in ASL, a finger-fumbler.
While I was working on dinner Brittany was busy entertaining me with her attempts to properly announciate the following tongue twisters:
She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.
Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter
And made her batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter makes better batter.
So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
Making Betty Botter’s bitter batter better