Menu Close

Virelangues · French Tongue Twisters

This week, French gets its turn with an illustrated collection of tongue twisters or virelangues.

Tongue twisters are somewhat humorous phrases that rely on alliteration 1, rapid alternation between similar but distinct phonemes 2, and other phonetic devices that make them fairly difficult to articulate, even for native speakers.

Due to their phonetic complexity, tongue twisters are a fun way to train your ear and pronunciation in foreign languages. They can help you differentiate minimal pairs, train muscle placement and develop clearer speech patterns.

Thanks to my friend François, you can listen to the pronunciation of each virelangue. Just click on the audio track below each illustration. Allons-y!

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, French tongue twisters, virelangues, Zungenbrecher, trabalenguas

 

C’est fini! Do you have a favorite virelangue, or maybe one that is impossible to pronounce? Do you know more tongue twisters? Leave me a comment!

12 Comments

      • Frank Harr

        Looking back at this, I’d think that they’re especially difficult for native speakers. Indeed, that’s the point.

        • Tabou

          No those ones especially.

          Alliteration in gr are utterly difficult for whoever (like in “dis-moi gros gras grand grain d’orge, quand tu dé-gros-gras-grand-grain-d’orgetas-tu ?” which is a diction training as it is not correct French).

          Alternation between close diphtongues, when repeated, becomes difficult after a short time. There is a game in France which is based on how many times you can repeat “panier piano”, based on this difficulty.

          Alternation and alliteration in ss and ch are difficult when there is not other sound to “breath”. In the above example with the Natacha’s cat, there are p and t sounds which make it pronouncable. This is less the case in those well-known tongue twisters:
          – Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse sont-elles sèches ou archi sèches ?
          – Un chasseur sachant chasser doit savoir chasser sans son chien.

          That’s the same in English with the “she sells sea shells on the sea shore…”.

          • Expat Gone Foreign

            Hi, Tabou! Thanks for stopping by and for your insightful comment. It’s always interesting to observe the differences in difficulty for natives and non-native speakers. You are right, I believe that the tongue twister about the cypresses must be harder for natives than the one with Natacha’s cat. Isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *