Practise your English using Tongue Twisters

Have you ever listened to funny English tongue twisters, or maybe even tried to say them yourself? Tongue twisters are a series of phrases and words put together in a way that makes their pronunciation difficult. Even a native speaker of English can struggle to smoothly articulate a tongue twister, so you – as a learner of the English language – must never give up trying!

Although tongue twisters often make no sense, they are, in fact, an effective method of practising the correct pronunciation and articulation of words. Just like physical exercise, with more movement of your tongue and the muscles used when trying to speak clearly, the better your speech articulation becomes. In this way, every ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) student can use tongue twisters to help improve their English pronunciation through regular oral practice.

The native languages spoken by some ESL students do not always use the same letter sounds as those found in English. For example, speakers of Korean and Chinese tend to struggle with correctly pronouncing the ‘l’ and ‘r letter sounds in English. By practising tongue twisters containing those letter sounds, you can begin articulating the letter sounds accurately when speaking English.

Here are several tongue twisters of varying complexity that focus upon the practice of different letter sounds.

Short Tongue Twisters:

As a warm up, try these short and easy tongue twisters first before advancing on to the more demanding level of clear and smooth articulation typically used by an ace-rapper like ‘Eminem’.

  • She sees cheese.
  • A happy hippo hopped and hiccupped.
  • Cooks cook cupcakes quickly.
  • Scissors sizzle, thistles sizzle.
  • Eleven benevolent elephants.
  • Six sticky skeletons.
  • Truly rural.
  • Which witch is which?
  • Willy’s real rear wheel.
  • Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards.
  • Really leery, rarely Larry.
  • Twelve twins twirled twelve twigs.
  • A snake sneaks to seek a snack.
  • Six Czech cricket critics.
  • Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.

Tongue Twisters with the ‘l’, ‘r’, ‘s’ and ‘th’ letter sounds:

As mentioned earlier, practising tongue twisters is like performing physical exercise, and by consistently doing such practice you will accurately pronounce more letter sounds found in English words.

Try regularly saying the following tongue twisters, and if possible also ask an English-speaking friend or an English tutor to listen and help you correct any pronunciation mistakes that are made.

‘s’ letter sound:

  • Selfish shellfish. (repeat it several times)
  • “Surely Sylvia swims!”, shrieked Sammy surprised. “Someone should show Sylvia some strokes so she shall not sink.”
  • She sells seashells by the seashore on the Seychelles.

l’ and ‘r’ letter sounds:

  • A really leery Larry rolls readily to the road.
  • Rory’s lawn rake rarely rakes really right.
  • Lucky rabbits like to cause a ruckus.
  • I looked right at Larry’s rally and left in a hurry.
  • Round and round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran.

‘th’ letter sound:

  • Thirty-three thousand feathers on a thrush’s throat.
  • The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
  • Something in a thirty-acre thermal thicket of thorns and thistles thumped and thundered threatening the three-D thoughts of Matthew the thug – although, theatrically, it was only the thirteen-thousand thistles and thorns through the underneath of his thigh that the thirty-year-old thug thought of that morning.

a male student wearing a headphone for online learning

Funny Tongue Twisters:

The following group of tricky tongue twisters might make you and other people laugh as you twist your tongue and mispronounce some words. You can also challenge your friends by seeing who can swiftly read and correctly pronounce every word.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

She sells seashells on the seashore.
The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure.
And if she sells seashells on the seashore,
Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells. 

I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet, I sit.

I scream, you scream,
We all scream for ice cream.

Having fun whilst trying to correctly say different tongue twisters will help to enhance your pronunciation and articulation of English words. All of the tongue twisters shown above are an excellent way to begin your journey of becoming a fluent and confident speaker of English. A search of the Internet can also provide many more examples of tongue twisters needed when you are practising the clear and sharp letter sounds needed to correctly speak every English word.

If you want to really improve your fluency in English, do not hesitate to visit the ‘English for Everyone’ Tuition Centre in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Mr. Jeff will give you excellent English lessons as a private English tutor who guarantees your success in becoming a confident speaker of English through his dynamic 1-to-1 student-teacher interaction and individually planned lessons designed to meet all of your learning needs. For more information, contact Mr. Jeff now!