Test your Italian with these 5 tongue​ twisters

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All languages have tongue twisters, and several studies have shown that they are a useful tool to learn to speak correctly and improve the pronunciation and intonation of words.

What are tongue twisters?

Tongue twisters are phrases or texts that combine similar phonemes, rhymes, and repetitions, and are very useful for developing an agile and rapid diction.

Their function for educational purposes is to:
• encourage greater fluency in reading
• broaden the vocabulary
• acquire speed when speaking
• train the muscles of the phonatory apparatus

Tongue-twister features:
• these are poetic compositions subject to the laws of metric rhythm and rhyme
• they are short and syntactically simple forms
• use alliteration, ie, words that repeat the same letters
• often they are nonsensical and can present invented words that serve to give musicality to the text
• deform and transform the meaning of words
• are a language game that generates the desire for memorization and repetition

Are you ready? Try it yourself!

1. Apelle, figlio di Apollo

One of the first tongue twisters that every Italian learns to know is that of Apelles, Apollo’s son, who is certainly not one of the most difficult, but certainly one of the most famous of all. The tongue twister follows:

Apelle Figlio di Apollo
Fece una palla di pelle di pollo
Tutti i pesci vennero a galla
Per vedere la palla di pelle di pollo
Fatta da Apelle figlio di Apollo

Apelles, son of Apollo
He made a ball of chicken skin
All the fish came to the surface
To see the chicken skin ball
Made by Apelles, son of Apollo

2. Trentatrè trentini

Another famous tongue twister is that of The Thirty-three Trentino resident: in this case, the tongue twister can become more complicated if repeated quickly and several times in a row.

Trentatré trentini entrarono in Trento, tutti e trentatré trotterellando.

Thirty-three Trentino resident entered into Trento, all thirty-three trotting.

3. La panca

This tongue twister may seem very simple, but if repeated quickly aloud, it is challenging to pronounce correctly.

Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa.

Above the bench, the goat lives, under the bench, the goat crack.

4. Tre tigri

Certainly among the most famous, although very short, it is one of the most difficult, reserved for trained languages.

Tre tigri contro tre tigri, tre tigri contro tre tigri.

Three tigers against three tigers, three tigers against three tigers.

5. Li vuoi quei kiwi?

One of the best known, but almost impossible to pronounce correctly and quickly.

Li vuoi quei kiwi? E se non vuoi quei kiwi che kiwi vuoi?

Do you want those Kiwi? And if you don’t want those kiwis what kiwi do you want?

So, how did it go? 🙂