European Day of Languages 2018

Today we are celebrating the European Day of Languages and we’d like to share with you a little bit of fun.  One aspect of mastering a language is being able to conquer its tongue twisters.  In English, this might be “around the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran” or the childhood favourite “she sells seashells by the seashore”.

It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in your own words. You say something just a bit too quickly and a jumble of sounds come out incoherently. That’s a tongue-twister – a sequence of ordinary words that become impossible to pronounce when put in succession. 

Try saying “toy boat” several times in a row and you’ll find it becomes “toy boyt”, while “top cop” becomes “cop cop.”

Try these English language tongue-twisters:

  • This is Stu. Stu chews shoes. But if Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?


  • One-One was a racehorse. Two-Two was one, too. When One-One won one race. Two-Two won one, too.


  • Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?


  • All I want is a proper cup of coffee. Made in a proper copper coffee pot. I may be off my dot. But I want a cup of coffee. From a proper coffee pot.

According to the Guinness World Records the world’s toughest tongue twister is “sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep sick.”

Short phrases to get you tripping over your tongue:

  • Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry.
  • Cooks cook cupcakes quickly.


Or impress your international colleagues with your attempts at these international tongue-twisters:

French: Papier, panier, piano.
Paper, basket, piano.

Danish: Stativ, stakit, kasket.
Rack, picket fence, cap.

Italian: Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando.
Thirty-three dwellers of Trent came into Trent, all thirty-three trotting and toddling.

Swedish: Sju undersköna sjuksköterskor sköter sju sjösjuka sjömän på det sjunkande skeppet Shanghai.
Seven beautiful nurses take care of seven seasick sailors on the sinking ship Shanghai.

German: Auf den sieben Robbenklippen sitzen sieben Robbensippen, die sich in die Rippen stippen, bis sie von den Klippen kippen.
Seven seal tribes sit on the seven seal cliffs, poking each other in the ribs until they topple off the cliffs.

Turkish: Bir berber bir berbere “Bre berber, gel beraber bir berber dükkânı açalım” demiş."
One barber said to another barber, “Hey barber, let’s open up a barber shop together."

Spanish: Pepe Peña pela papa, pica piña, pita un pito, pica piña, pela papa, Pepe Peña.
Pepe Peña peels potatoes, cuts pineapple, blows a whistle, cuts pineapple, peels potatoes, Pepe Peña.

Portuguese: A mulher barbada tem barba boba babada e um barbado bobo todo babado.
The bearded woman has a beard (f) that is silly and filled with drool, and a silly beard (m) completely filled with drool.

Croatian: Kralj i kraljica Klara su svirali klavir.
King and Queen Klara were playing the piano.

Need more 'language' inspiration? Read our Blog 'What Sort of Language Learner are You? and our Case Study "In-Company & Online Language Learning".  Alternatively, visit our Language Training section to find a course that suits your needs, whether it be face to face for a group or 1:1, Live Online or blended learning. Alternatively, call us on 020 8295 5877 if you require a broader range of training solutions.


"Initially I didn't think that it was going to be very helpful but the course was well structured and gave me many things to take away to improve my own practices."

Inter-Cultural Training


“Excellent, very interactive, relevant and tailored to our business. Thank you.”

Developing World-Class Customer Service

St James

View all testimonials

Do you or your team negotiate internationally?

Enter your details below to access our short Guide on 'International Negotiation', it is filled with guidelines, techniques and advice.