A tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value. Tongue-twisters may rely on rapid alternation between similar but distinct phonemes (e.g., s [s] and sh [ʃ]), unfamiliar constructs in loanwords, or other features of a spoken language in order to be difficult to articulate. For example, the following sentence was claimed as "the most difficult of common English-language tongue-twisters" by William Poundstone The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us. This type of tongue-twister was incorporated into a popular song in 1908, with words by British songwriter Terry Sullivan and music by Harry Gifford. It was said to be inspired by the life and work of Mary Anning.
Welcome to our Tongue Twisters page, where you can find a number of free printable lesson materials containing all sorts of tongue twisters that English teachers can use in the classroom. Most popular ones include those about well-known Peter Piper who once accidentally picked a 'peck of pickled peppers', or the one about the fact that 'noise annoys an oyster', or those 'shells on the sea shore', but we are sure you'll discover a few relatively new tongue-twisters that you have not heard of, too. You will also find great phonetic practice activities involving tongue twisters for all sorts of sounds: 'bit of better butter' or 'big black bear' for the [b], 'sit in solemn silence' for the [s], 'two-toed tree toads' for the'[t] sound, and many more.
If you are looking for some tongue twisters to use in class this worksheet lists over three hundred of them! Choose ones that are appropriate for your class and focus on target sounds or recent vocabulary.
At the moment we have 31 Tongue Twisters worksheets as well as other helpful teacher-tested activities for teaching phonetics and pronunciation. If you're new to teaching using them, we suggest you take a look at a recent article we called 'Top Ten Tongue-Twisters: True Teacher's Treasure?' which provides plenty of information on how to start, how to work with particular sounds, how to drill them, etc. How many tongue twisters do you know? We are sure some of the ones we have got will come as a surprise even to you, so make sure you practise reading them out loud before the class, so that 'thousand thinkers were thinking' and 'how much wood could a wood chuck chuck' come out just right! View the latest Tongue Twisters lesson activities below, or search through the menu at the top of each page to find the worksheet you need for this or that particular topic.
It is debated whether or not tongue twisters help ESL students with pronunciation or not.
Since native English speakers often cannot say them correctly, they often present ESL learners with quite a challenge; however, they can also be used to create enjoyable educational material. When using tongue twisters in class, try to use ones that are not entirely nonsense and that focus on a particular sound or sounds you would like students to practice such as the different ch sounds in chef and chief.