Friday, February 19

Tongue Twisters - la lingua storta?

While I'm focused on language learning these days, with the launch of Up Your Bottom! I came across a real fun website from the BBC:  Your Say!  And, while perusing the site, I came across Italian tongue twisters.  I never knew these sorts of word games to be a part of the culture, as I've never come across them -- but, it makes perfect sense in a country as literary as Italy.

When I once taught English, I used to (try) to make my students learn the 'TH' by having them say, very fast:
There were thirteen thieves who threw the thing.
Needless to say, we all had a good laugh.  So, here's the best from the BBC.  Try them out for yourself:

Sopra la campa la capra campa, Sotto la panca la capra crepa.
On the field the goat roams, Under the bench, the goat dies.

Trentatré Trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti e trentatré, trotterellando. 
Thirty three Trentonians came into Trento, all thirty three trotting.

Tre tigri contro tre tigri. Trentatré tigri contro trentatré tigri. 
Three tigers against three tigers. Thirty-three tigers against thirty-three tigers.

Sul tagliere l'aglio taglia. Non tagliare la tovaglia. La tovaglia non i aglio. Se la tagli fai uno sbaglio.
Cut the garlic on the cutting board. Don't you cut the tablecloth.The tablecloth is not garlic. If you cut it you make a mistake.

Dietro a quel palazzo c'è un povero cane pazzo. Date un pezzo di pane a quel povero pazzo cane!
Behind that palace there's a miserable crazy dog. Give a little bread to that miserable crazy dog!

Apelle, figlio di Apollo, fece una palla di pelle di pollo i tutti i pesci vennero a galla, per vedere la palla di pelle di pollo fatta da Apelle, figlio di Apollo.
Apelle, son of Apollo, made a ball of chicken skin and all the fish rose to the surface to see the ball of chicken skin made by Apelle, son of Apollo.

*the question mark above is because I don't know how one calls tongue twisters in Italian...


Dave514 said...



Jacques said...

Dave is of course right, though more than a "tongue-thawer" or "tongue-relaxer" (sciogliere can mean both, either on a physical or an emotional level), I think it is more of a "tongue depressor" since it is so depressing how hard they are to do, even after so long in Italy...

Anonymous said...

I love tongue twisters..Excellent.