Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved to challenge myself by reading out loud in English. For me, there was no getting tired or bored of reading the same things, so I would read the same passage over and over, each time paying close attention to how each sound was pronounced, how the words were connected and trying to mimic the intonation of the reader.
It was definitely challenging at times, but I thought it was more fun than anything else and I was, you could say, a little addicted to that feeling of exhilaration I would feel each time I could read a line without stopping or making a mistake.
So, in a nutshell, that’s how I learned to read in English, and how I went from being 7 years old and struggling to read the little “Canterville Ghost” book we had been given at school to being 16 and trying to rap along with Eminem.
The power of tongue twisters
That’s about the time when I grasped the power of rap and tongue twisters to learn English. I realized not only could they help me improve my pronunciation, but they could also help with my overall fluency.
Sure, it took me a while to get where I am today and I didn’t go from babbling to rapping overnight, but with all the practice I would put in, I was improving fast.
My favorite tongue twisters
To this day, I feel like there’s room for improvement, so whenever I get the chance, I try to have some fun and challenge myself with some tongue twisters.
Now, be prepared, because tongue twisters can get very frustrating very fast, so, in order to avoid that, it’s important that when you feel you’re about to lose it, you just take a break, and get back at it the following day.
Now, there’s hundreds of tongue twisters out there and each poses its own difficulties. Here I’ve listed three of my all-time favorites, which can be quite challenging even for advanced students but... that’s probably why I get a kick out of them.
Tongue Twister #1
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?
Tongue Twister #2
"How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
Tongue Twister #3
Betty Botter had some butter, “But,” she said, “this butter's bitter. If I bake this bitter butter, it would make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter – that would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter, better than her bitter butter, and she baked it in her batter, and the batter was not bitter. So 'twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
Wanna have a laugh? Then check out this video with me trying to read all three out loud without messing up and yes, for your entertainment, I’ve left in the bloopers.
How to approach a tongue twister?
If you want to give these tongue twisters a go, here are the steps I’d suggest you follow:
1. Make sure you understand their meaning - at first they may not make much sense but all tongue twisters have a meaning and you’d better understand it! Otherwise, if it sounds like total gibberish to you, it’ll be impossible to put a sentence together!
2. Perfect each sound before reading full sentences - don’t try and make lasagna before you’ve learned how to make the dough, the ragu and the béchamel. Learning to do everything at once can be overwhelming! (Man, you can really tell I’m Italian by that comment) =D
3. Pace it - Would you run before you even learn how to walk?! No. The same goes for tongue twisters. Increase the speed slowly and don’t put too much pressure on yourself and one day, you might just surprise yourself.
So did you already know these tongue twisters? Do you think they’re hard? Do you have a favorite tongue twister?