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18 European phrases that will make your tongue twist

Getting pronunciation right when learning a language is one of the hardest parts!

Now see how well you do with these 18 tongue twister phrases in other European languages!

P.S. The Danish and the Swedish tongue twister phrases are definitely our favourites!

Czech

Strč prst skrz krk.
Stick your finger through your throat.

Danish

Røde rødøjede rådne ørreder.
Red redeyed rotten trouts.

Dutch

Zeven Zaventemse zotten zwommen zeven zonnige zondagen zonder zwarte zwembroek. Zuster Zulma zaliger zei; “Ze zijn zij zeker zot ! Ze zullen zinken!”
Seven madmen from Zaventem swam seven sunny sundays without black swimmingsuit. Late sister Zulma (a name) said; “They must be mad! They will sink!”

English

She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So if she sells shells on the seashore, I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Finnish

Kärpänen sanoi kärpäselle: tuu kattoon kattoon ku kaveri tapettiin tapettiin.
A Fly said to another fly: come to the ceiling to see as our friend was killed on the wallpaper.

French

Les chaussettes de l’archi-duchesse sont-elles sèches, archi-sèches ?
Are the archduchess’ socks dry, very dry?

German

Kluge kleine Katzen kratzen keine Krokodile.
Clever little cats don’t scratch crocodiles.

Greek

Μιὰ πάπια μὰ ποιά πάπια. (Miá pápia ma piá pápia)
A duck, but which duck?

Hungarian

Fekete bikapata kopog a patika pepita kövezetén.
A black bull-hoof knocks on the pharmacy’s tesselated pavement.

Irish

Ná bac le mac an bhacaigh is ní bhacfaidh mac an bhacaigh leat!
Don’t bother with the son of the beggarman and the son of the beggarman won’t bother you!

Italian

Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando.
Thirty-three dwellers of Trent came into Trent, all thirty-three trotting and toddling.

Lithuanian

Šešios žąsys su šešiais žąsyčiais.
Six geese with six little geese.

Polish

Rotmistrz z Tczewa, poczmistrz z Czchowa.
Cavalry officer from Tczew, postmaster from Czchów. 

Portuguese

O doce perguntou pro doce qual doce que era mais doce. O doce respondeu pro doce que o doce mais doce era o doce de batata doce.
The sweet asked the sweet which sweet was sweeter. The sweet answered the sweet that the sweeter sweet was the sweet potato sweet.

Slovakian

Rozprostovlasatila sa dcéra kráľa Nabuchodonozora, alebo nerozprostovlasatila sa dcéra kráľa Nabuchodonozora.
Did daughter of king Nebuchadnezzar make herself bareheaded, or didn’t daughter of king Nebuchadnezzar make herself bareheaded.

Slovenian

Iz Jež’ce čez cesto v Stož’ce po rož’ce.
From Jež’ca across the road to Stož’ce to get some flowers.

Spanish

El cielo está enladrillado. ¿Quién lo desenladrillará? El desenladrillador que lo desenladrille, ¡buen desenladrillador será!
The sky is full of bricks. Who will take them out? The “unbricker” who takes them out, will be a good “unbricker”!

Swedish

Far, Får får får? Nej, får får inte får, får får lamm.
Father, do sheep have sheep? No, sheep don’t have sheep, sheep have lambs?

We hope we haven’t got your tongue too much into a twist! Let us know which was the hardest in the comments below.

tongue twist phrases

If you want to find out more crazy facts about European languages, you’re in the right place!

8 comments

  • This Italian one is much worse:
    Se l’arcivescovo di Costantinopoli si disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzasse, vi disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzereste voi come si è disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzato l’Arcivescovo di Costantinopoli

  • This is very funny :-))))! There´s an error in the Swedish though: “Far, får får får? Nej, får får inte får, får får lamm” (that is, in Swedish the “inte” (no) should come after the verb)

  • Portuguese you could use “O Rato roeu a rolha da garrafa do rei da russia” The mouse gnawed the cork of the bottle of Russias´ king” or “Três tristes tigres” short but hard “Three sad tiggers” both of European portuguese origin. While the one you have is of brazilian origin and with a brazilian accent
    All portuguese though just different origins and flag

  • Norwegian: Ibsens ripsbusker og andre buskevekster. Ibsen’s red currant shrubs and other shrubs.

  • I was surprised to see the Dutch tongue twister that made it to this list, because it is by no means known as such. It comes from a show by a Flemish old school stand-up comedian called Urbanus, who pronounced it in his (Brabant) accent/dialect, which makes it odd to hear it in a coarse West-Flanders accent, to say the least. It was never meant as a tongue twister (really easy to pronounce), just a funny line starting with all z’s. Moreover, I don’t think many people in the Netherlands know this line, so it can hardly be called representative, I’m afraid. I’m not quite sure what the Dutch would see as a typical example, but in Belgium we have goodies like “De kat krabt de krullen van de trap” or “De koetsier poets de postkoets met postkoetspoets”.

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