Tongue-twisters for the EFL classroom

One of the few “issues” I’ve had to come up with solutions for has been finding an activity to cover the last 5-10 minutes of a young learners class after completing the lesson. Since I have scheduled game playing for three times per week and it takes up about 20 minutes each time, something quick was necessary here, but what?

Tongue twisters are well known among Greek students as a fun learning practice in their native language, so why not use them for learning English as well? They are simply great – students love them and they get to practise their pronounciation, vocabulary and understanding of the English language while doing something fun. Tongue twister competitions are becoming increasingly popular among my students and I was thrilled to discover, first the International Collection of Tongue Twisters and then the wonderful section on British Council LearnEnglishKids-Tongue-Twisters, where students listen to the tongue twister and try to repeat it (if only they had put up more of them!).

Here’s some of my students’ favourites:

“I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.”

“The great Greek grape growers grow great Greek grapes.”

“If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?”

“One-one was a race horse.
Two-two was one too.
One-one won one race.
Two-two won one too.”

“If you notice this notice, you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.”

My all-time favourite is the following little story:

“This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did, what Anybody could have done.”

Maybe not a tongue twister as such, but serves the same purpose – as students have to remember all of it and make sure they don’t mix up the pronouns!

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2 comments on “Tongue-twisters for the EFL classroom

  1. icaltefl says:

    I love them and have a useful list for any occasion! Here’s our article on the subject, too: http://tinyurl.com/btyj67e

  2. ChristinaC says:

    Tongue-twister competitions work every time! It would be nice to find more audio of them online, or even create our own in class!

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