November 2, 2021 7 min read
Learn more about Tongue Twisters and their increasing popularity
Did you know, there is a day dedicated to the fun ol’ tongue twisters and it’s celebrated on the second Sunday of November! Tongue twisters as the name suggests are a group of words put together in a way that you are bound to get confused and mess up while saying them aloud speedily and continuously. Although funny, tongue twisters do have a history, they are believed to be introduced in the 18th / 19th century to help learners strengthen their pronunciation skills and their exact origin remains unknown. One of the most popular tongue twisters on ‘She sells sea shells on the sea shore’ was based on Mary Anning, who would collect sea shells as a part of her daily job and also accidentally discovered the flying dinosaur (yes it’s true!)
Back in the days, they were a form of gamification that learners across ages enjoyed. Even though the classroom structure was prominent, students craved mixed learning methods. Tongue twisters became a way to pen folklores which children took interest in. Some of them are popular even today. It is believed that when challenged, quizzed or engaged via simulating content a child’s brain functions more efficiently and their retention power increases drastically. Little wonder why we still remember rhymes, drawings and games from our childhood.
By nature tongue twisters are age agnostic i.e. children and adults can say them equally well or equally wrong irrespective of how old they are. In many cases they are also used for speech correction and increasing the confidence of the speaker.
How does this work?
Tongue twisters go against the rule of choice oriented sentence formation. If given a choice, we would form a sentence in a way that would be fairly easy for us to pronounce. For instance, ‘she sells a lot of shells by the sea’ - by default our brains will pick and choose words that do not create any confusion. Tongue twisters defy this logic and surprise our brains, as a response we become more conscious and alert while saying them. This in itself increases our presence of mind.
Fascinating, isn’t it? There is more to it, at times to make your own tongue twisters try jumbling words, use same letter words but ensure they are grammatically correct because historically no tongue twister has ever defied the basic language rules.
This year the International Tongue Twister Day falls on 8th November and we have put together some classic tongue twisters for you to make the most of it
1. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
2. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if the woodchuck could chuck wood?
3. She sells sea shells by the seashore
4. Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
5. I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream!
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