One of the most difficult things about learning Spanish is banter. We all have a unique personality in our native language, but it’s difficult for a beginner to show off that same personality in Spanish. As my Spanish conversation skills improved over time, I was able to use funny Spanish jokes to break the ice. From meeting new people to making friends, using your Spanish language skills (good or bad) can be a fun way to show your personality. Trabalenguas or tongue twisters in Spanish definitely work as this kind of ice breaker. Here are five fun tongue twisters in Spanish for you to try.
Why should you learn Spanish tongue twisters?
Practising tongue twisters in Spanish is helpful to improve your pronunciation. English-speakers make the same common pronunciation mistakes when they learn to speak Spanish. Fine-tuning your mistakes is good for your conversation skills.
In fact, the top 20 most spoken words in Spanish include a lot of prepositions and short words. These words are tiny but important. Pronouncing them correctly means you can be understood by native Spanish speakers. Messing them up can give you something to laugh about with a new friend. Besides, Spanish tongue twisters are fun. Full stop.
How to practise Spanish tongue twisters
For practising tongue twisters, the concept is the same as working on pronunciation. Here are our steps for how to practise Spanish tongue twisters.
- Read the tongue twister in Spanish
- Start slowly and pronounce every word carefully
- Link words and phrases by smoothing out the transitional vowel sounds
- Build speed
When you can say the tongue twister five times in a row without making a mistake, you’ve got it!
1. Tres tristes tigres
Tres tristes tigres, tragaban trigo en un trigal. En tres tristes trastos, tragaban trigo tres tristes tigres.
Three sad tigers swallowed wheat in a wheat field. In three sad rubbish bins, three sad tigers swallowed wheat.
This is the first tongue twister I ever learned as a child. To be fair, this trabalengua still gives me some trouble. Trasto literally means junk in English.
2. Un perro rompe
Un perro rompe la rama del árbol.
A dog breaks the tree branch.
Watch out for those Rs. This trabalengua helps you to differentiate the rolled R in Spanish versus the un-rolled single R pronunciation. Don’t forget to roll the initial R in rompe.
3. Compré pocas copas
Compré pocas copas, pocas copas compré y como compré pocas copas, pocas copas pagué.
I bought few drinks, a few drinks I bought and since I bought (only) a few drinks, a few drinks I paid.
This trabalenguas has a nice rhyme and the same consonant sounds as the English tongue twister “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”. Make sure to pronounce all the vowels correctly using a Spanish accent.
4. Pancha plancha
Pancha plancha con cuatro planchas. ¿Con cuántas planchas Pancha plancha?
Pancha irons with four irons. How many irons does Pancha iron with?
Fun fact: Pancha is the Spanish nickname for a woman named Francisca. The masculine version is Pancho for Francisco. For example: If you travel to Playa San Pancho north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico you will notice the official name of the beach is actually Playa San Francisco.
5. Hoy ya es ayer
Hoy ya es ayer y ayer ya es hoy, ya llegó el día, y hoy es hoy.
Today is already yesterday and yesterday is already today, the day has already arrived, and today is today.
This is a good trabalenguas to practise the silent H in Spanish. Pay attention to vocal stress in Spanish as you try this one. It can be a bit tricky.
When you take online Spanish lessons, your focus is on vocabulary and conversation. By adding tongue twisters to your #LanguageLearning studies, an extra fun element is added. Next time you meet a native Spanish speaker, whip out a tongue twister and challenge your new friend. Hey, it could even lead to a first date! Mostly, these fun tongue twisters work as an ice breaker for impressing native Spanish speakers. Which of these Spanish tongue twisters was your favourite?
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