Trabalenguas (Spanish Tongue Twisters)

Published 25th August 2011
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Let’s take a look at someSpanish tongue twisters – or known as in Spain “trabalenguas”, which comes from the verb “trabar” (to jam) and the noun “lengua” (tongue), and which literally means “something that jams/ties the tongue”.

So, here are some of my favourite “trabalenguas”. I’ve included literal translations in English, and although most sound like nonsense, it will help give you an idea of what’s actually being said.

If you are learning Spanish, this is the best way to test your pronunciation skills. Give it a shot and tell us how you do!

• Tres tristes tigres comían trigo en un trigal.
(3 sad tigers ate wheat in a wheat field.)

• El suelo está enladrillado. ¿Quién lo desenladrillará? El desenladrillador que lo desenladrillare un buen desenladrillador será.
(The ground is paved with bricks. Who will unpave it? The unpaver who unpaves it will be a good unpaver.)

• Me han dicho que has dicho un dicho, un dicho que he dicho yo, ese dicho que te han dicho que yo he dicho, no lo he dicho; y si yo lo hubiera dicho, estaría muy bien dicho por haberlo dicho yo.
(I’ve been told that you’ve said a saying, a saying that I said, that saying that they’ve told you I said wasn’t said by me; if I had said it, it would be very well said since I was the one that said it.)

• Como poco coco como, poco coco compro.
(Since I eat little coconut, I buy little coconut.)

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