I’m currently learning German. It can be difficult and frustrating and I don’t seem to excel at it quite as quickly as I’d hoped. All the while I see people all around me who have such an easy time learning languages, or so they tell me. In my annoyance I came up with a revenge of sorts. It’s a short story that consists of 10 different languages and all of the sentences are tongue twisters! In other words it’s the ultimate tongue twister. I challenge you to read the whole story quickly without your tongue twisting itself into one big knot. Suck on that all you language geniuses out there! That is if you dare!
Once upon a time (French)”trois tortues trottaient sur trois toits très étroits” because (Polish)”w czasie suszy szosa sucha”. Up there they found (Danish)” fem flade flødeboller på et fladt flødebollefad”. After eating it they met (Italian) “trentatré trentini che entravano a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando” (English) “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” These asked. “None”, was the answer. But they would (Swedish) “lägga sex laxar i en laxask” (German) “ weil Fischers Fritze fischt frische Fische und Frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritze”. Next, they all saw that (Spanish) “Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal, tragaban trigo en un trigal tres tristes tigres” below and through a window they saw that (Portugese) “o rato roeu a ropa do rei de Roma e a rainha de raiva rasgou o resto”. The moral of the story is: (Swahili) “cha mkufu mwanafu ha akila hu lakini cha manafu mkufu hu na akila ha”.
And all in English for those few who didn’t get it:
Once upon a time three turtles trotted on three very narrow roofs because during a drought the road is dry. Up there they found five flat chocolate covered marshmallows on a flat chocolate covered marshmallows dish. After eating it they met 33 Trentonians who trotted together to Trento. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” These asked.
“None”, was the answer. But they would put six salmon in a salmonbox as fisher’s Fritz fishes fresh fish and fresh fish are fished by fisher’s Fritz. Next, they all saw that three sad tigers had wheat on a wheat field below and through a window they saw that a mouse nibbled the King’s clothes and the Queen in anger teared off the rest. The moral of the story is: what belongs to a teacher, the student must not take, if he/she does then something bad happens but what belongs to a student a teacher may take and nothing would happen to him/her.
I hope that your tongues all got their right share of twisting and that even the most professional linguists out there got to suffer a bit.
Thanks to my friends and co-workers at bab.la who helped me with the tongue twisters!