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What are Tongue Twisters?

When most people think of tongue twisters a childhood image comes to mind: Attempting to recite a tricky rhyme or phrase as fast as possible without tripping over the verbal challenges and hurdles lurking within these tongue-tying sentences, such as Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled Peppers.

By combining the effects of alliteration (repetition of a sound), particularly of similar but not identical sounds, with a phrase designed such that it is made very easy to slip (perhaps making a Spoonerism) accidentally, these sentences and poems can be guaranteed to provide us with lots of fun and laughter.

But tongue twisters are not only for light-hearted linguistic fun and games. They serve a practical purpose in practising pronunciation. English tongue twisters may be used by foreign students of English to improve their accent, actors who need to develop a certain accent, and by speech therapists to help those with speech difficulties.

When their use is for one of these more serious reasons, then tongue twisters are generally subdivided into categories classifying them by the particular vowel or consonant sounds they exercise. The Peter Piper twister, for example, clearly provides practice for the P sound.

In the tongue twister section of our online wordplay bookshop you will find a large selection of tongue twister collections, both those aimed at having fun, and those for speech improvement.

We also have a collection of our favourite tongue twisters for you to enjoy; just click to see these twisters.

Thanks to all of our visitors who have sent in their favourites. Many of these can now be found on Fun-with-words.com on our visitors' tongue twister page.

New! Two more sections of tongue twisters: Tongue Twister Poems and Rude Tongue Twisters.

Tongue-twister: a formula of sequence of words difficult to pronounce without blundering.
The Chambers Dictionary

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