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Forget Sally selling her seashells by the sea shore – that’s nothing compared to what difficulties one might encounter when trying out tongue-twisters from different languages. This week’s Top Ten has amassed some of the more ridiculous foreign language tongue-twisters (and their approximate translations) for your enjoyment. These phrases are so complex, they might trouble the very fiber of your m-oral being!
10. Le ver vert va vers le verre vert. (French) The green worm goes towards the green glass. Would be a veritable tongue twister if nearly all the words weren’t pronounced the same way.
9. Ta tabbata ba ta taba taba taba ba. (Hausa). She is certain she has never smoked tobacco. Who would have thought that you could create a sentence with merely three letters?
8. Las papas que pelan Paca y Pola las pone Pepe, poco a poco, en pilas. (Spanish). The potatoes that Paca and Pola are pealing, Pepe is putting, little by little, in piles. Sounds like a ‘spud-tacular’ chore.
7. Karikaturisti karikaturon karikatura karakteristike! (Albanian) The caricaturist caricatures characteristic caricatures. Yes, that is generally what caricaturists do.
6. Kuku kaki kakak kakak ku kayak kuku kaki kakek kakek ku. (Indonesian) My sisters’ toenails look like my grandfathers’. Making this observation must have been quite a ‘feet.’
5. Wat was was voor was was was? (Afrikaans) What was wax before it was wax? Got me stumped. Wax?
4. Sešli se na resuscitačním sále se šesti lůžky. (Czech) They met at the emergency room where six beds were. Sounds awkward. I bet all they could think of to say was, “Er…”.
3. Kekeeka kekiki kaaka kaakiki vuntundaa? (Telugu) How can the feather of peacock belong to a rooster? Such a philosophical question – makes me feel like I’m a birdbrain.
2. Сшит колпак не по-колпаковски. Надо бы колпак переколпаковать, надо перевыколпаковать. (Russian) The cap is sewn noncapways. One has to re-cap the cap, to over-recap it. I can’t vouch for that translation.
1. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. (Maori) The hill where the great traveler (Chief) Tamatea with the bony knees, who slid and climbed mountains, played his flute to his beloved. Technically, the name of a Hill in New Zealand, I’d be impressed if you could say that one time fast.
Do you have any additions to the list in English or another language?