But the real prize goes to ...
... anyone who can say "Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel" ten times in succession without doing themselves an injury.
Many of will have heard the tale of a lady who sells seashells on the sea shore. Now it's time for the unnamed beach trader to get a new job because MIT boffins have invented the world's toughest tongue teaser. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel is mad about difficult rhymes, possibly because her own name doesn't exactly trip off the …
Totally agree. I tried and while first time through this "world's hardest" tongue twister gave a slight bit of difficulty, I was then able to rattle off 10 times quickly with no issue at all. That sixth sheik's sheep thing is so damned hard I've never been able to say it fast once, EVER, and never will. Hell, I've never been able to correctly say it slowly, not even REALLY slowly!
Perhaps there is some issue where different people have problems with different sounds repeating, and those of us who have no problem with the "pad kid" one but have problems with the "sheik" one are more susceptible to issues alliterating s's? All I know is that if I can do it easily, it isn't close to the world's hardest, or anywhere in the running.
This is like seeing the article, "world's hardest math problem devised" and solving it in 30 seconds.
Not only is it not that difficult to say, it doesn't make any sense and so, in my opinion, fails as a tongue twister.
It's not even funny when it goes wrong, unlike "I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son, I'm only plucking pheasants until the pheasant plucker comes".
... and I'm only plucking pheasants
'til the pheasant plucker comes.
Yup, still gets my vote.
Although one of the later verses is, IMHO, more likely to trip you over:
I'm not the pheasant plucker
I'm the pheasant plucker's wife
Me and the pheasant plucker
have a pheasant plucking life.
I guess this rhyme didn't make the cut as the "downside" of getting it wrong wouldn't appeal to too many. Especially if a newsreader (ill-advisedly) tried it live on air.
Though, considering the number of people who are unable to pronounce "nuclear", I'd say it doesn't take much to be a tongue-twister, these days.
....becuase there are some devlish ticklers in other languages.
Try these out from our Saxon cohorts.
Im dichten Fichtendickicht picken die flinken Finken tüchtig.
Jauchzende Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen jubeln jauchzend Jubeljodler Jauchzende Jubeljodler jubeln jauchzende Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen.
Klitzekleine Kinder können keinen Kirschkern knacken. Keinen Kirschkern können klitzekleine Kinder knacken.
And my favourite :
Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid
Google Translate also has trouble with the second. Well, more trouble:
In the dense spruce thickets pick the nimble finches efficient.
Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen exultant cheer jubilantly exultant jubilation jubilation yodel yodel exultant cheer Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen.
Tiny children can not cherry stone crack. None cherry stone can crack tiny children.
Red cabbage remains red cabbage and wedding dress wedding dress remains
I used to work with a French chap who was relatively new to speaking English as a primary language and he could say any tongue-twister you threw at him perfectly without any difficulty.
I wonder if it's the way we learn our language naturally from birth that pre-disposes us to find combinations of phonetically similar words tricky?.
This guy was also a bit of a sportsman, football, rugby (played for the national under 21's or somesuch) etc and was quite proud of it so we thought joing our cricket team would deflate his gallic superiority a bit. He had none of that, took to it instantaneously like a pro and was soon our best batsman/bowler.
You'd hate him for it except for the fact that he was a top bloke as well....didn't even give us that pleasure the b*****d!
People from other parts of the world, with other ways of speaking are going to have problems with certain words or phrases and not others, in whatever language. Example springs to mind, three of my colleagues from the sub-continent, who each speak many languages, brilliantly I might add, simply cannot say 'Côte d'Ivoire'. Hearing them struggle, is I shamefully admit, quite amusing. I've not let on that 'Ivory Coast' is just as good.
Absolutely - a peck is a unit of volume (two gallons I think), whereas you wouldn't want to stuff any quantity of peppers in a pipe.
I'll cite my granddad rather than Google - a Devonshire farmer who routinely mentioned pecks and told me what one was.
>You can either speak the language, or you cannot.
So what about people recovering from strokes? Children with a developmental difficulty in this regard? People who stammer or have a lisp? Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.
Tongue twisters can give an insight into the task of speaking, analogous to how optical illusions can give clues as too how we interpret visual information.
"Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk."
This is true, sometimes when Skype-ing if the user at the other end is using speakers rather a headset you hear your own voice coming back delayed. When that happens I can only get half way through sentences..
>Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.
D'oh! Sorry people, I'm trying out a small Bluetooth keyboard... though more convenient for me, it is less convenient for anyone trying to read my words!
Still, despite my lack of precision, it would appear you can still grasp my meaning.
"Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk".
An ex-cow-orker was some years back paid quite a bit to develop a portable machine* which allowed just this delayed-playback effect; it was used to quantify whether people trying to claim compensation from the National Coal Board for noise-induced industrial deafness were faking it or not.
*This was in the late-1960s. Think open-reel tape-decks with calibrated, continuously variable capstan speeds.
English is precise but also playful. Resiliant (very) to mangling, still making sense in any order, almost.
It may have something to do with the fact that whilst the rest of Europe was enjoying the Rennaisance the Brits were in the sway of the Puritans who were taking all the pictures and nudey statues down. So we had Shakespere and Milton playing with words instead of Mick and Leo playing with their paints.
Precise? It's vague as anything and heavily dependent on context. And it's always changing... what's really picking my pepper at the moment is Argos (and now it's spreading to other retailers too) and their "Get up to half-price off"... GRAHHHHHH!!!! It makes me mad even typing it.
Meaningless strings of words, I agree. But can't you see that the "Pheasant plucker" is a minor masterpeice of something like wit? The moment you notice where you might go wrong, some perverse subsystem in your brain wants to go wrong. And there are so many ways to choose from!
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