American English Tongue Twisters

A Twisted Lesson! 

Hi! I’m Ryan from Go Natural English, and today, I’m talking about Tongue Twisters!

Before I say anything else, I’d like to start with a question: how many cans can a can canner can if can canner can can a can?

If you know the answer, that is amazing, leave a comment and let me know what it is, but in today’s lesson, I am going to share with you a variety of tongue twisters. When you want to improve your fitness, you work-out (get a lift in, do some cardio, go on a hike). Similarly, tongue twisters are like exercises for speech that help train you to speak English clearly!

I’ve put together 10 tongue twisters of all levels that you can use to help expand your vocabulary, practice pronunciation, practice different sounds, and overall improve your English fluency! 

And make sure you watch the entire video…because I’ve included the scientifically proven World’s Most Difficult tongue twister!

Alright, let’s get after it!

10 English Tongue Twisters

Ok, so I want to start with a few of the more common, simple tongue twisters. These are ones that many people know and are a great way to warm up our speaking muscles!

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

This was the very first tongue twister I mastered and most people in America have heard this one! This one focuses on the “W’ sound, and has a simple rhythm…and once you master the rhythm this one becomes a piece of cake! So let’s practice, repeat after me: (Repeat in rhythm). Nice!

Ok, let’s try another famous one!

Silly Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.” Again, most people, even kids, will know this one! It’s a fun way to practice and distinguish between the ‘S’ and ‘Sh’ sounds! Let’s practice!

“Silly Sally….sells sea shells…by the…sea shore.” 

So the last of the of the famous, common ones:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

This tongue twister is focusing on the repetition of the ‘P’ sound! You can bet that most English speakers have heard of this tongue twister…but not everyone can recite it fast! There is actually a longer version, but today we will stick with the main sentence. 

(Practice)

Challenges Ahead!

Now we are going to start with some more challenging tongue twisters. Usually, these ones aren’t real sentences; they are a combination of challenging sounds. Let’s get started!

First up is one that I created to challenge my Brazilian friends! I studied with many Brazilians during my undergraduate studies, and one night we exchanged many tongue twisters. It was then that I created this tongue twister:
World war whirlpool”.

The guttural ‘er’ sounds are tough, and the repetitive ‘w’ doesn’t make things any easier! This is a great way to practice those sounds.

 

Next, we have a tongue twister with a unique word. Do you know what a gargoyle is? A gargoyle is an animal/human creature made of stone that you can find in old buildings! So, now that you know this word lets try the tongue twister:

Boy gargoyle, girl gargoyle.” 

The word by itself is difficult, but add the boy and girl in there takes it to the next level! Let’s try it together..

 

Are you familiar with the word ‘benevolent?’ It is such a nice word which means charitable and good-willed. “The old man is benevolent”

So the tongue twister using this word is:

Eleven benevolent elephants.”

This one focuses on the ‘e’ sound, with a switch between the ‘v’ and ‘f’ sounds. It is totally fun and not too common, so this is a fun one to learn!

 

The 7th tongue twister is made of 3 simple words we already know..but saying them quickly and together is not so simple!

Good blood, bad blood.”

Try saying this 3 times fast…it’s nearly impossible!!

 

Number 8 is another classic that looks simple, but is so difficult when repeated fast! Toy boat. I know, it looks easy, and maybe you’re saying it in your head right now with ease…but let’s try saying it out-loud and do it 5 times fast!

Numbers 9 and 10 are so difficult to pronounce, I have to pause while saying them! But let’s see what happens:

This one uses some old English, Shakespeare-style with the ‘eth’! 

So it sounds a bit goofy and unnatural, but hey, many tongue twisters are like that! Let’s take a look:

The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us.

In case you’re not familiar with ‘seething,’ in this case it means chaotic. Also, to cease means to stop!

Let’s try part by part!

The Final Challenge!

Now, for the World’s Most Difficult tongue twister!! It does not look too impressive, but attempting to recite the phrase with proper pronunciation is basically impossible. Researchers from MIT analyzed dozens of tongue twisters and determined this to be the hardest one! So much so that the researchers offered a prize for anyone that could say this sentence multiple times quickly! Let’s check it out:

Pad kid poured curd pulled cod

The sentence is a bit confusing, but it basically says that a kid pours a certain type of fish. If only the pronunciation was that easy:

(practice)

Thanks For Practicing With Me!

Whew! So that wraps up today’s lesson! Which of the 10 tongue twisters was most difficult for you? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

And if you want extra, free English tips let us send them to you by email, direct to your inbox here: https://gonaturalenglish.com/email/

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson, and I am sure with some practice you will be a powerful prancing pronunciation prince or princess..? 

If you’d like to continue on your English journey, you can check out one of our other fun lessons here!  Have a great day!

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