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No. 51: Tongue Twisters

Alors, chaque semaine, dans mon cours de français, we spend 30 minutes practicing tongue twister, known to the French as les virelangues.

Les virelangues are silly slogans we are supposed to speak swiftly, satisfactorily, and seriously to assess our skillfulness in successfully saying a succession of similar sounds succinctly.

Our assorted assembly of eight adventurers from across the earth, each with an array of atypical accents, histoires, et angst, ce n’est pas an attractive arrangement.

The mental and physical gymnastics we have to perform to suitably spit out these sentences is not only monumental, madcap and manic, mais also mirthful, meaningless, and modestly miserable.

Oh, we try so hard! And French is not an easy language, but, alas, c’est une langue qu’on aime!

Here’s a sample of a few we’ve been working on…it ain’t pretty:

Dans ta tente ta tante t’attend. (In your tent your aunt is waiting for you.)

Lily lit le livre dans le lit. (Lily reads the book on the bed.)

Poisson sans boisson, c’est poison! (Fish without drink, that is poison!)

Cinq chiens chassent six chats. (Five dogs chase six cats.)

Un taxi attaque six taxis. (A taxi attacks six taxis.)

Même maman m’a mis ma main dans mon manchon. (Even mom put my hand in my sleeve.)

Un gros porc dors au bords le beau port du Bordeaux. (A porky pig sleeps by the beautiful port of Bordeaux.)

Je dis que tu l’as dit à Didi ce que j’ai dit jeudis. (I say that you say to Didi what I say on Thursdays.)

Trois tortues trottaient sur un trottoir très étroit. (Three turtles are trotting down a very narrow sidewalk.)

Ces six saucissons-ci sont si secs qu’on ne sait si s’en sont. (These six sausages are so dry that we don’t know if they are (sausages).)

 Pauvre petit pêcheur, prend patience pour pouvoir prendre plusieurs petits poissons. (Poor little fisherman need patience to be able to catch many small fish.)

Chat vit rôt,
rôt tenta chat,
chat mit patte à rôt,
rôt brûla patte à chat,
chat quitta rôt. (The cat sees the roast. The roast tempts the cat. The cat puts a paw on the roast. The roast burns the cat’s paw. The cat leaves the roast.)

Take a listen here to hear how hard these are to say!


Alors, chaque semaine, dans mon cours de français…: So each week, in my French course…

ce n’est pas: it is not…

c’est une langue qu’on aime: it’s a language we love

histoires: stories, histories

mais: but

virelangues: tongue twisters (une phrase difficile à prononcer)

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I can’t even do that with my tongue!!

    November 19, 2013

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