Tongue twisters are a fun way to teach anyone who’s struggling to pronounce some of the more intricate sounds in the English language. They’re a type of articulation exercise that will help your students practice clearer pronunciation of some of the hardest sounds
How to teach English with tongue twisters
Start reading the sentence slowly; make sure you pronounce the beginning and end of each word strongly. Get progressively faster as you get more confident saying the sentence. The goal is to get your mouth muscles comfortable with foreign movements.
Tip: When practicing watch your lip movement in the mirror if you make a mistake start again.
Five tongue twister sounds that everyone should be able to whistle off in their sleep
1. To begin to toboggan first buy a toboggan, but don’t buy too big a toboggan. Too big a toboggan is too big a toboggan to buy to begin to toboggan. (Easy) ✅
This is a great one for people who have been recently introduced to English. This tongue twister puts a strong emphasis on the ‘t’ and ‘b’ sounds. This particular tongue twister improves your ability to perform various lip movements required for daily use of the English language.
2. She saw Sharif’s shoes on the sofa. But was she so sure those were Sharif’s shoes she saw? (Easy) ✅
‘S’ is one of the most commonly mispronounced letters in the alphabet. The two consonants (‘s’ & ‘h’) that form to create a blended sound can be hard for new English speakers. It’s also one of the easiest sounds to combat with a little bit of work.
3. A loyal warrior will rarely worry why we rule. (Medium) ⚠️
Most foreign languages require different mouth shapes to project their words. This results in difficulties for non-natives learning English speech patterns. An example of this is how native Chinese speakers often have difficulties pronouncing the ‘l’ and ‘r’ sound. They blend in their ‘l’ and ‘r’ sounds into the rest of the letters in the word, instead enunciating the sounds separately.
4. Black background, brown background (Medium) ⚠️
This is a great one to practice for any Spanish people who are learning English. The letter ‘b’ doesn’t burst off their lips as well as other cultures, but with a little bit of practice you’ll be belting out the sound of ‘b’ to your heart’s content.
5. Red lorry, yellow lorry (repeat three times) (Hard)
The most skilled native speakers trip over their own tongue with this famous tongue twisters. The constant repetition of the letter ‘l’ is known to be one of the most difficult sounds to pronounce.
Here are 20 more English tongue twisters to master with your class:
|Difficulty||Sound/Letter Focus||Tongue Twister|
|Easy||‘p’||Pirates private property.|
|Easy||‘b’||A big bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.|
|Easy||‘eam’||I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!|
|Easy||‘gr’ & ‘gl’||Green glass globes glow greenly.|
|Easy||‘oc’||Octopus ocular optics.|
|Easy||‘will’ & ‘u’||Will you, William? Will you, William? Will you, William? Can’t you, don’t you, won’t you, William.|
|Medium||‘ch’||How much wood could Chuck Woods’ woodchuck chuck, if Chuck Woods’ woodchuck could and would chuck wood?|
|Medium||‘sn’ & ‘st’||How many snacks could a snack stacker stack, if a snack stacker snacked stacked snacks?|
|Medium||‘e’ & ‘ee’||I eat eel while you peel eel.|
|Medium||‘g’||A gazillion gigantic grapes gushed gradually giving gophers gooey guts|
|Medium||‘c’||I see a sea down by the seashore. But which sea do you see down by the seashore?|
|Medium||‘l’ & ‘er’||On a lazy laser raiser lies a laser ray eraser.|
|Medium||‘n’||Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.|
|Hard||‘sh’ & ‘sw’||Three short sword sheaths.|
|Hard||‘icks’ & ‘ix’||Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.|
|Hard||‘will’ & ‘n’t’||Will you, William? Will you, William? Will you, William? Can’t you, don’t you, won’t you, William.|
|Hard||‘st’||A pessimistic pest exists amidst us.|
|Hard||‘lly’, ‘lli’ & ‘llie’||Yally Bally had a jolly golliwog. Feeling folly, Yally Bally Bought his jolly golli’i a dollie made of holly! The golli, feeling jolly, named the holly dollie, Polly. So Yally Bally’s jolly golli’s holly dollie Polly’s also jolly!|
|Hard||‘c’||If coloured caterpillars could change their colours constantly could they keep their coloured coat coloured properly?|
|Hard||‘ight’||No need to light a night-light on a light night like tonight.|
Got your creative juices flowing? Tweet or tag us @premiertefl with your favorite tongue twisters; let’s see your class in action! Check out more EFL resources with our DIY classroom ideas and the downloadable Warmers, Fillers & Coolers activity eBook.