French Tongue Twisters for a Fun Challenge

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May 5, 2021

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This article takes a look at 30 of the most common French tongue twisters. We’ll look at ten simple tongue twisters to get you started, before moving onto ten moderate and ten difficult tongue twisters. Are you up for the challenge?

What are French Tongue Twisters?

Tongue twisters are a sequence of words that, when put together are difficult to pronounce when you attempt to say them quickly. They are great for pronunciation as they train and develop the muscles needed for speech, improving fluency in a language. 

The French word for tongue twisters is virelangues. It literally translates to ‘turn of the tongue.’ They are a great way to put your pronunciation to test and for both beginners and native speakers alike, virelangues makes for a lot of fun.

Are you ready to challenge yourself? Are you ready to put your French pronunciation and speed to the test? If so, here are 30 tongue twisters for you to try your hand at, starting from easy and moving through to difficult tongue twisters.

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Level 1: Easy French tongue twisters

1. Lili lit le livre dans le lit. - Lily reads the book in bed.

2. Cinq chiens chassent six chats - Five dogs hunt six cats.

3. Son chat chante sa chanson. - His/her cat sings his/her song.

4. C’est trop tard pour le tram trente-trois. - It’s too late for tram 33.

5. Seize chaises sèchent. - Sixteen dry chairs.

6. Six saucisses sèches. - Six dry sausages.

7. Mon père est maire, mon frère est masseur. - My father is a manager, my brother is a masseur.

8. Un ananas n’a ni nid ni nanas. - A pineapple has no nest or ninas.

9. As-tu été à Tahiti? - Were you in Tahiti?

10. Poisson sans boisson c’est poison! - Fish without drink, it’s poison.

Level 2: Medium difficulty tongue twisters

1. Je suis ce que je suis, et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis? - I am what I am, and if I am what I am, what am I?

2. Ces cerises sont si sûres qu’on ne sait pas si c’en sont. - These cherries are so sour we’re not sure if they are cherries.

3. As-tu vu le vert ver allant vers le verre en verre vert? - Have you seen the green worm going towards the green glass glass.

4. Une bête noire se baigne dans une baignoire noire. - A black beast bathes in a black bathtub.

5. Un ange qui songeait à changer de visage se trouva soudain si changé que jamais plus ange ne songea à se changer. - An angel who was thinking of changing his face suddenly found himself so changed that never again dreamed of changing.

6. La grosse rose jaune de gauche est autre chose que la vôtre. - The big yellow rose on the left is something different from yours.

7. Si mon tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu. - If my uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaven.

8. Ces Basques se passent ce casque et ce masque jusqu’à ce que ce masque et ce casque se cassent. - These Basques pass around this helmet and this mask until this mask and this helmet break.

9. La roue sur la rue roule; la rue sous la roue reste. - The wheel on the road turns; the road under the wheel stays put.

10. As-tu vu le tutu de tulle de Lili d’Honolulu. - Have you seen Lili’s tulle tutu from Honolulu.

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Level 3: Difficult French tongue twisters

1. Si six scies scient six cyprès, six cent scies scient six cent cyprès. - If six saws saw six cypress, six hundred saws saw six hundred cypress.

2. Six chats sis sur six murs pistent six souris qui sous six lits sourient sans souci des six chats qui les pistent. - Six cats on six walls track six mice who under six beds smile without worries at the six cats who track them.

3. Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse, sont-elles sèches ou archi-sèches? - Are the archduchess socks dry or really dry?

4. Je veux et j’exige d’exquises excuses du juge. Du juge, j’exige et je veux d’exquises excuses. - I want and demand exquisite excuses from the judge. From the judge, I want and demand exquisite excuses.

5. Natacha n’attacha pas son chat qui s’échappa.  - Natasha did not tie up her cat, who escaped.

6. Trois tortues trottaient sur un trottoir très étroit. - Three tortoises trotted on a narrow pavement.

7. Un chasseur sachant chasser doit savoir chasser sans son chien de chasse.  - A hunter who knows how to hunt must know how to hunt without his hunting dog.

8. Bonjour Madame la saucissière, combien vendez-vous ces six saucisses-là? Je les vends six sous, six sous ci, six sous ça, six sous ces six saucisses-là. - Hello ma’am, how much do you sell these six sausages? I sell them six pennies, six under here, six under that, six under those six sausages.

9. Combien sont ces six saucissons-ci? Ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous. Si ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous, ces six saucissons-ci sont trop chers. - How much are these six sausages? These six sausages are six cents. If these six sausages are six cents, these six sausages are too expensive.

10. Il était une fois, un homme de foi qui vendait du foie dans la ville de Foix. Il dit ma foi, c’est la dernière fois que je vends du foie dans la ville de Foix. - Once upon a time, a man of faith who sold liver in the city of Foix. He says my faith, this is the last time I sell liver in the city of Foix.

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Example dialogue

Aurélie: Qu’est-ce que des virelangues?What is a tongue twister?
Benoît: Un virelangue est une phrase qui est difficile à prononcer très vite. A tongue twister is a phrase that is difficult to say very quickly.
Aurélie: Vraiment? Comme quoi?
Really? Like what?
Benoît: Par exemple, « Lili lit le livre dans le lit »For example “Lily reads the book in bed.”
Aurélie: C’est pas difficile de prononcer.
That’s not difficult to say.
Benoît: D’accord, essaye « Combien sont ces six saucissons-ci? Ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous. Si ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous, ces six saucissons-ci sont trop chers. »OK, try “How much are these six sausages? These six sausages are six cents. If these six sausages are six cents, these six sausages are too expensive.”
Aurélie: Oh non, c’est pas possible! Oh no, it’s not possible.
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Regular pronunciation practice is important to improve fluency in French. We hope that you enjoy trying out these French tongue twisters. Which one is the most difficult for you? Let us know how you go in the comments.

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