It’s Tongue Twister Day. How Many Of These Can You Do?

Tongue Twister Day encourages you to give your tongue a workout and challenge your friends to the most convoluted and difficult tongue twisters of the year. How many knots will you tie YOUR tongue into this year?

It’s an elegant dance or a fumbling ungainly stumble through a linguistic waltz. Whether you’re discussing Peter Piper picking a peck of pickled peppers” or the vagaries chirped out by “A quick-witted cricket critic”.

  • Speaking of that old dastardly pickled pepper picker, it turns out that dear old Peter Piper was actually a real person, someone from our histories who was renowned for his taste in delicious spices and became immortalized as a result.
  • They’re hard to say because the part of your brain that helps you with speaking has set places for different sounds. So, sometimes when you say sounds that are similar (like sss and shh), or sounds that use the same part of your mouth (like sounds that you use the front of your tongue for tee or dee) too quickly, your brain will get confused and cause you to stumble over the words.
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” also had a real-world origin. There was an actual person whom Peter Piper was based on: a French pirate and horticulturalist named Pierre Poivre. Pierre would steal from spice stores to grow in his own garden, and make the spices more available and affordable to the common populace.
  • So which tongue twister is the most difficult? In the English language, the Guinness Book of World Records professes that to be “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.” Trust us, one try at that and you’ll be having your tongue tied up in knots for a week, or at the very least sound like a snake with a lisp. We know, it’s pretty awful. [note: the official category no longer exists]
  • The tongue twister “she sells seashells by the seashore” was inspired by a woman named Mary Anning, who spent her time gathering seashells from beaches to sell to tourists.
  • If a noisy noise annoys an onion, an annoying noisy noise annoys an onion more!
  • Please peel this peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
  • Surely Shirley shall sell Sheila’s seashells by the seashore.
  • The skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
  • The butter Betty Botter bought could make her batter bitter, so she thought she’d better buy some better butter!
  • Five fine Florida florists fried fresh flat flounder fish fillet.
  • A three-toed tree toad loved a two-toed he-toad that lived in a too-tall tree.
  • Growing gray goats graze great green grassy groves.
  • Imagine managing the manger at an imaginary menagerie.
  • Mix a box of mixed biscuits with a boxed biscuit mixer.
  • A cuckoo cookie cook called Cooper could cook cuckoo cookies.
  • While it likely predates her, Vaudeville performer Fay Templeton is credited with putting the woodchucking woodchuck on the map. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” was the chorus of a number Templeton sang in 1903 in the Broadway musical The Runaways.
  • Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.   Not yet as recognizable as some other more traditional rhymes, this short sentence was developed by MIT researchers in 2013 as the world’s trickiest twister.

Sources:

Days of the Year

Alliance Work Partners (AWP)

Info Please

Mental Floss

CBC