Correct pronunciation is key to communicating well in Italian. Have you ever considered using tongue twisters to strengthen your pronunciation skills? You get to practise difficult sounds and groups of letters and improve them through repetition. If you fancy having a go, try out these tongue twisters, known as ‘scioglilingue’ in Italian.
It’s a good idea to start slowly. Break the tongue twister in sections and work on each bit individually. Build up to saying the whole tongue twister. Then try again, a bit quicker each time.
- Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti e trentatré trotterellando.
In English: Thirty-three people from Trentino came to Trento
This is perfect for practising rolling your ‘r’s and making the ‘tr’ sound.
- Tre tigri contro tre tigri
In English: three tigers against three tigers
This one gives you another chance to perfect your ‘r’s and your ‘t’ sounds in Italian. Say it again and again, go on!
- Sul tagliere l'aglio taglia, non tagliare la tovaglia. La tovaglia non è aglio, se la tagli fai uno sbaglio.
In English: Cut the garlic on the cutting board, don't cut the tablecloth. The tablecloth isn't garlic, if you cut it you've made a mistake.
Firstly, this is great one about food and secondly, it’s also very practical! English-speaking students of Italian often find pronouncing ‘gl’ difficult so this is can be a useful tongue twister for improving pronunciation.
- Guglielmo coglie ghiaia dagli scogli scagliandola oltre gli scogli tra mille gorgogli.
In English: Guglielmo (this is William in English) collects gravel from the rocks, throwing it over the rocks in a thousand gurgles.
If you struggled with the all the ‘gl’ sounds in the previous tongue twister, this one may be a mouthful!
- Sopra la panca la capra campa; sotto la panca la capra crepa
In English: Above the bench, the goat lives; under the bench, the goat dies.
This is a classic Italian tongue twister, worth a try!
- Apelle, figlio di Apollo, fece una palla di pelle di pollo e tutti i pesci vennero a galla, per vedere la palla di pelle di pollo fatta da Apelle, figlio di Apollo.
In English: Apelle, son of Apollo, made a ball of chicken skin and all the fish rose to the surface to see the ball of chicken skin made by Apelle, son of Apollo.
Another classic tongue twister, useful for practising double consonants in Italian.
- Andiamo a navigar con nove navi nuove, ma una delle nove nuove navi non vuole navigar.
In English: We go sailing with nine new ships, but one of the nine new ships doesn't want to sail.
This is a great one for getting your Italian vowels spot on.