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Tongue twisters for learning German

In English you twist your tongue, - in German you might even break it:

Die Zunge = tongue

brechen – to break

der Zungenbrecher – tonguebreaker

That sounds dangerous!

Nevertheless, tongue twisters are popular at any age and make us laugh.

It is a challenge to pronounce them correctly, even for native speakers.

And: they are ideal for practicing pronunciation.

Here are 10 funny tongue twisters that are ideal for German learners!

But first of all:

What is a tongue twister?

Tongue twisters are sentences that are difficult to pronounce – they are even especially made in such a way that the pronunciation becomes difficult.

They don't have to make sense. But quite often they are funny when you understand them: either because they are so nonsensical, or because they are playing with the meaning of the words.

Many of those the sentences consist of similar words that differ only in certain syllables.

Or all words start with the same letter – this is called 'alliteration'.

Or else there are several words that are (almost) the same – then you really have to concentrate to understand the meaning.

Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische
©Charlotte von Strotha

Are tongue twisters only for kids?

All children love tongue twisters. They love experimenting with words and sentences and are happy when it sounds funny or when it is even a challenge to pronounce something correctly.

But tongue twisters are also a popular articulation exercise for professional speakers such as: actors, politicians, television and radio presenters ...

Many of them do voice training right before their performance to warm up the voice. They also practice with tongue twisters.

And they are also a great help for language learners if you want to speak more fluently.

How do tongue twisters help with German pronunciation?

With tongue twisters you can train your oral motor skills and articulation.

Often all words begin with the same sound. Then you pronounce it repeatedly and thereby practice it.

Or the words contain a similar sound combination: now you have to pay attention to the subtle differences and speak very precisely.

In each language, the sounds are formed a little differently. For example, when speaking in some languages, the tongue is located further forward in the mouth and in others further back.

German 'Ü'

The lips are also used differently: For the German "Ü", some learners almost need muscle training!

Give it a try:

Fühlen wir kühlen Wind an vielen trüben Küstendünen?

(Do we feel cool wind on many murky coastal dunes?)

And in fact, it's like muscle training in sports: the more you practice, the better the result will be.

With tongue twisters, you can specifically practice the sounds that are difficult – for example, because they do not exist in your own language.

This improves the pronunciation and sounds more fluid.

Why are tongue twisters so efficient?

Tongue twisters are short and funny – exactly what our brain likes.

You can remember them well and practice them at any time: for example, in the car or while walking.

It's a good idea to practice together with the whole family: who can recite the tongue twister the fastest without errors?

This is a guarantee for a cheerful atmosphere!

Pronunciation German

The 10 most popular tongue twisters of my German learners

I asked my German learners – and these are their favorites!

Attention: Don't break your tongue! 😉

Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische. Frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.

(Fisher‘s Fritz fishes fresh fish. Fresh fish fishes Fishers‘ Fritz).

Zehn zahme Ziegen ziehen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.

(Ten tame goats pull ten centner of sugar to the zoo.)

Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen saßen zwei zwitschernde Schwalben.


(Between two plum branches sat two chirping swallows.)

Sieben Schneeschipper schippen sieben Schippen Schnee.

(Seven snow-shovelers shovel seven shovels of snow)

Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.

(Blue cabbage remains blue cabbage and wedding dress remains wedding dress.)

Der Arzt spritzt mit spitzer Spritze. Mit spitzer Spritze spritzt der Arzt.)

(The doctor injects with a pointed syringe. With a pointed syringe, the doctor injects

Esel essen Nesseln nicht. Nesseln essen Esel nicht.

(Donkeys do not eat nettles. Nettles do not eat donkeys)

Früh fressen freche Frösche Früchte. Freche Frösche fressen früh Früchte

(Early on, cheeky frogs eat fruit. Cheeky frogs eat fruit early)

Wenn Fliegen hinter Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen nach.

(If flies fly behind flies, flies fly behind flies.)

Hans hört hinterm Holzhaus Hubert Hansen heiser husten

(Hans hears Hubert Hanser coughing hoarsely behind the wooden house)

With these tongue twisters you practice, for example, the [ts] sound (Z is spoken [ts]!), the SCH sound, different sound combinations ... and most importantly, it's a lot of fun!

How do I practice tongue twisters?

Read the tongue twister quietly and slowly.

Listen to the audio recording from the tongue twister several times.

Then speak it quietly and slowly.

Speak the tongue twister loudly and slowly.

Now speak the tongue twister several times loudly and quickly.

Tongue twisters are a great exercise to improve pronunciation and speak more fluently.

They can help you improve your accent.


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