Published on 08 Oct 2014 | over 3 years ago

Improve your accent by doing these exercises. Every language has tongue twisters. They are fun to practice your pronunciation because they use sound sequences that are often difficult to say quickly. In this lesson, I look at four common English tongue twisters to help you improve your pronunciation. The tongue twisters include "Peter Piper", "Betty Botter", and more. When you're finished with this video, check out our resources page for 50 tongue twisters to improve your pronunciation:


Hi, everyone. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on "Popular Tongue Twisters". So, every language has tongue twisters, which are essentially short phrases or short little stories that repeat problem sounds or the same groups of sounds to make it difficult to pronounce when you say it very quickly. Now, what is the purpose of tongue twisters? Number one, they're really fun. And number two, they are challenging. And number three, they do improve your pronunciation, your enunciation, and your ability to speak more fluently, more clearly, and in a way that makes you more understandable, you know, to a general audience. Especially if you're in public speaking, even for native speakers, tongue twisters are a great way for actors or public speakers to improve their pronunciation; an ability to be clear when they speak.

So, we're going to look at four popular tongue twisters in English. And at the end of the lesson, if you really enjoyed this, you can actually check out our resources page where there will be a resource that has a list of popular English tongue twisters for you to keep practicing after this lesson, and to improve your pronunciation. Okay?

So, number one is:
"She sells seashells by the seashore."
Now, this tongue twister is essentially to practice your "sh", "se" combinations. Okay? So, you could see here it's: "She sells seashells", this is the hardest part. It goes "sh", "se", "se", "sh". So you have a "sh" and a "sh" at the end; and in the middle, you have a "se", "se". Okay? So, try saying it after me. "She sells seashells". All right, one more time. "She sells seashells". Okay. And the full thing is: "She sells seashells by the seashore." So this is "seashore", "se", "sh". So I'm going to say it one more time and then you repeat after I say it. "She sells seashells by the seashore." Okay. Not bad. Okay. All right, we'll try it one more time and I'm going to do it quickly this time. "She sells seashells by the seashore." Okay. Keep practicing.

So, the next one says:
"How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?"
This is very difficult because it does focus on the, you know, "c" sound, but it's specifically the "l" and the "r" sound. So, I have taught numerous Korean speakers, as well as Japanese speakers who do have an issue with the "l" and "r" sound, and this is a great tongue twister to get you to practice the difference, to notice the difference. So, one more time. I'm going to say it piece by piece, and I want you to repeat after me. So: "How can a clam cram"? So, can you just say: "clam cram"? Okay? "Clean cream can". So repeat this after me: "Clean cream can". All right. Now we're going to try the whole thing. So: "How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?" It's not easy. Right? But the more you practice it, the better you will be. And again, start slowly. First, make sure that you can actually pronounce the sounds, and then work your way through it, repeating it, getting faster. And eventually, you can say: "How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?" And then if you say that again and again, you will improve, you will get better.

And finally, there are two more. These are actually much longer. The full versions are much longer. So I just gave you the first line of these two very popular English tongue twisters, and they are Betty Botter and Peter Piper. For the full versions, you can check out the resources page like I mentioned before.

So, for Betty Botter, this will really help you to practice that "ah" sound in English, as well as other vowel sounds. The full versions has:
"Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the batter's bitter."
So you're going to be practicing your "a", your "e", your "ah". And just listen and repeat after me for the first line. So, first: "Betty Botter bought some butter." Okay, so here, we have "be", so just repeat after me. "Be", "bah", "bah", "be", so this one is not "bah", not "batter", but "butter", "buh", "buh", "buh". One more time. "Bu", "bah", so open your mouth more on "Botter" and "bought". So, we'll say the whole thing one more time. "Betty Botter bought some butter." Okay. Not bad, not bad. And let's try it one more time, a little quicker this time. "Betty Botter bought some butter." Okay. So, keep practicing it. And for the full version, check out the resources page.
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