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Virelangues-French Tongue Twisters!

Tongue Twisters are a fun way of testing the speaker’s ability to correctly pronounce the succession of similar sounds.  They are words or sentences with repetitions and recurring syllables which are repeated as quickly as possible.  These can surprisingly be found in almost all languages from Spanish to Creole.

In French, tongue twisters also known as Virelangues, provide an interesting insight into the French language and are also an entertaining way to practice sentences which are not easy even for native speakers of the language.  It can be interesting to test your abilities at tongue twisting when you are a beginner,an  intermediate or even an advanced learner of French.


Here are some of my favourite French tongue twisters (even though some of them don’t make any sense!).  Are you brave enough to give it a shot??

Ah ! pourquoi Pépita sans répis m’épies-tu, dans le puits Pépita pourquoi te tapis-tu ? Tu m’épies sans pitié, c’est piteux de m’épier, de m’épier Pépita ne peux-tu te passer ? (Oh ! why Pepita do you spy on me incessantly, in the well Pepita why do you cower? You spy on me without pity, it’s pityful to spy on me, to spy on me Pepita, can’t you stop it?)

As-tu vu le tutu de tulle de Lili d’Honolulu ? (Have you seen the tule tutu of Lily from Honolulu?)

Bonjour Madame Sans-Souci. Combien sont ces soucis-ci?
Six sous, ces soucis-ci.
Six sous ?! C’est trop cher, Madame Sans-Souci.
(Good Morning Madame No-Worries. How much are these worries? Six cents, these worries.  Six cents, it’s too much Madame No-Worries.)

Ce chasseur sait chasser sans son chien dit le sage garde-chasse, chasseur sachez chasser sans chien ! (This hunter knows how to hunt without his dog says the wise  gamekeeper, hunters learn how to hunt without a dog!)

Ce ver vert sévère sait verser ses verres verts. (This severely green worm knows how to shed its green worms)

Cinq gros rats grillent dans la grosse graisse grasse (Five fat rats roast in the fat greasy grease)

Dites à Dédé de dire adieu sans se dandiner ! (Tell Dede to say adieu without waddling!)

There you go.  Have fun!

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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