Tongue twister is a phrase, sentence or a rhyme which is difficult to speak. The difficulty is more pronounced when the twister is repeatedly and quickly spoken. We will look at what it is that makes it a cool take.
Let’s start with a simple one:
“Whistle for the thistle sifter”
Did that get you going? Certainly the twisters vary in their difficulty leagues. The hardest tongue-twister according to Guiness book of world records is “The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick”. But a few argue that the hardest one is “The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us”
To appreciate the beauty of a twister you need to speak it loudly and quickly. Most of the times it proves to be comical error of sorts due to the similar phonetics of the words.
To appreciate a twister, a basic understanding of alliteration and rhyme will help immensely.
Alliteration and Rhyme:
Alliteration is a literary device constituting same consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words in close succession. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…” Here the alliteration is with respect to the letter P. Alliteration is mainly used in poetry to create the effect with word play. But due care is exercised; its accidental usage often mars the beauty of writing. A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounding words. This technique is mostly used in songs. Both the alliteration and rhyme derives on repetitive play of sounds or words.
A tongue twister is generally designed in such a way that the reader is expected to stumble while pronouncing. Hence, tongue twisters can prove to be a very good medium for teaching elocution. Moreover, it also lays emphasis on pronunciation, so it effectively can also reduce speech defects.
Some common tongue twisters:
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?
I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop.
Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.
How many boards
Could the Mongols hoard
If the Mongol hordes got bored?
from the comic Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Waterson
How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
Send toast to ten tense stout saints’ ten tall tents.
by Raymond Weisling
Denise sees the fleece,
Denise sees the fleas.
At least Denise could sneeze
and feed and freeze the fleas.
Coy knows pseudonoise codes.
by Pierre Abbat
Sheena leads, Sheila needs.
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.
by Meaghan Desbiens
Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?