10 Tricky Japanese Tongue Twisters (早口言葉) with audio!
Japanese tongue twisters (早口言葉, hayakuchi kotoba) are sayings that are meant to make you stumble over your words. Just like an English tongue twister, a Japanese tongue twister has no real meaning and is meant to be spoken as fast as possible. In fact, 早口言葉 literally means, “fast-mouthed words.” A famous English tongue twister is “Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.” Another good (but long) one is “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?”
Tongue twisters are hard enough to say in your native language, so you can bet they are even harder in a foreign language! Our native Japanese teacher, Masako, has made a recording of each one to help you practice. But don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away, even Masako had to try them a few times!
We left out the romaji for these slippery sayings, so see if you can go just from the hiragana. Once you try it, then listen to Masako
Top Ten Japanese Tongue Twisters
(なまむぎ なまごめ なまたまご)
This is one of the most popular tongue twisters in Japan that everyone will know!
“Namamugi, namagome, namatamago.”
2. スモモも 桃も 桃のうち
すももも ももも もものうち
“Sumomomo momomo momonouchi”
3. 坊主が びょうぶに 上手な 坊主の 絵を かいた
ぼうずが びょうぶに じょうずな ぼうずの えを かいた
“Bouzu gabyoubu nijouzuna bouzuno ewo kaita”
4. この竹垣に 竹立て掛けたのは 竹立て掛けたかったから、竹立て掛けた
この たけがきに たけ たてかけたのは たけ たてかけたかったから たけ たてかけた
“Kono tategaki ni take tatekaketa noha.”
にわには にわ にわとりが いる
“Niwa niha niwa niwatori ga iru”
There is also another, more complicated version of this one: “In [Mr.] Niwa’s garden, two chickens suddenly ate a crocodile.” But see if you can do the easier one first!
となりの きゃくは よく かき くう きゃくだ
“Tonari no kyaku ha yoku kaki kuu kyaku da.”
とうきょう とっきょ きょかきょく きょか きょくちょう
“Tokyo tokka kyoka kyoku kyoka kyokucho.”
8. かえる ぴょこぴょこ みぴょこぴょこ
あわせて ぴょこぴょこ むぴょこぴょこ
“There are 3 frogs hopping. Here come another 3 hopping frogs. In total, there are 6 frogs hopping.”
あかまきがみ あおまきがみ きまきがみ
“Akamakigami aomakigami kimakigami.”
このくぎは ひきぬきにくい くぎだ
“Kono kugi ha hikinuki nikui kugi da.”
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