Looking for some Spanish tongue-twisters to help improve your Spanish pronunciation?
Tongue twisters in Spanish are an excellent way to have fun in the language, test yourself, and most importantly improve your Spanish pronunciation (over time!).
If you are feeling like you are in a pronunciation rut and you're having a hard time saying a few difficult to pronounce syllables, then these 13 phrases below will help you out.
Below, I discuss a few important details to make the most of these.
What Is A Spanish Tongue-Twister?
A tongue-twister is a phrase that uses repetitive syllable sounds designed to be difficult to articulate properly and fluently.
The objective of a tongue-twister is to pronounce it clearly at a normal speed without any mistakes. Think it’s something you can handle?
Forget about logic.
Do not attempt to translate these, they normally won’t make any sense!
The phrases are here simply to helping you practice your pronunciation.
The Spanish word for tongue-twisters is a tongue-twister in itself!
It’s trabalenguas. :O
Why Using Spanish Tongue-Twisters Is a Good Idea
If you are having trouble with those doble-erres, eñes, combos like -ar, -cue, -tr, -ch, etc., tongue-twisters -or trabalenguas- are the perfect tool to conquer those sounds.
Those repetitive syllables will:
- Improve your pronunciation in difficult areas.
- Help you improve your speed of speech
- Give a boost to your brain by increasing your focus and ability to concentrate.
- Help you speak more clearly.
- Give you a better grasp of the language while improving your listening comprehension.
- Help increase or develop the competitiveness within you. Spanish Tongue-twisters might just give you that extra fun incentive you needed to push you forward!
13 Tongue-Twisters in Spanish To Improve Your Speaking Skills
A Few Important Tips Before Starting
- Make it fun. Not only are Spanish tongue-twisters fun, but they can be pretty competitive if you try them out against friends. See who can say it perfectly with the least amount of tries.
- Repetition is your best friend.
- Warm up. Take a couple of deep breaths, walk around (your brain works better when you’re moving. Just ask the peripatetics) and OPEN YOUR MOUTH.
English speakers are used to being quite concise in their speaking and this translates into the way they move their mouths. Spanish speakers articulate words differently, more passionately if you will.
You’re gonna have to make an extra effort!
A good place to start is by repeating the vowel sounds out loud, focusing on each sound and the way you can maximize the opening of your mouth. Do the same by combining two vowel sounds.
Roll the “r”. Pair up the “r” with other consonants: “br,” “pr,” “ar,” etc.
Have some fun by coming up with your own warm-up sounds!
- Once you pick your first tongue-twister, start by trying to repeat it at your normal speed a few times. You will slip up, guaranteed in the first few tries. Make a mental note as to where this happens.
- Now try again, but this time slow down (a lot if you need to), focusing on the right pronunciation. Do this until you can say it without any mistakes.
Ready to get started?
Let's take a look at the 13 below.
You can choose to focus on the syllables and sounds that you have the most difficulty with first!
13 Fun Tongue-Twisters in Spanish
1. To practice the “r” sound:
Only two words, pretty easy, right?
This tongue-twister is perfect to practice that omnipresent “r” sound. Not too bad, right?
2. To practice the “rr” sound:
El perro cachorro de Roque Machorro se enreda en la ropa, se enrosca cual cuerda y se enreda en la rueca de Rosa Rueda.
This is a great one to practice as I’m sure you know most English speakers have a terrible time speaking that double R sound.
This is a great one to practice on over and over again.
3. To mix things up (“r”, “rr”):
El perro perra encontró pera, pero perro perra peras no come, en cambio perra perro peros no encontró para comerse la pera que perro perra dejó.
Once you have mastered number two it’s time to move over to number 3.
We structured these in a way that we thought would be helpful.
4. To practice the “ch” sound:
María Chucena techaba su choza
y un techador que por allí pasaba le dijo:
María Chucena, ¿Techas tu choza
o techas la ajena?
Ni techo mi choza ni techo la ajena,
que techo la choza de María Chucena.
5. To practice the soft “g” sound:
El gendarme dice al agente, mucha gente se agenda en la agencia.
6. To practice the “ñ” sound:
Pedigüeños pingüinos del peñar, ¡despedigüeñence y despeñarse!
Do you struggle with the “ñ?” If so, this is the perfect one to practice with!
7. To practice “cua” and “cue”:
Cuando cuentes cuentos, cuenta cuantos cuentos cuentas cuando cuentes cuentos.
8. To practice the “v” and “b” sounds:
Juan tuvo un tubo, y el tubo que tuvo se le rompió, y para recuperar el tubo que tuvo, tuvo que comprar un tubo igual al tubo que tuvo.
In case you are wondering, yes the “V” and the “B” are pronounced the same way for Spanish speakers.
9. To practice the “s” sound:
Si Sansón no sazona su salsa con sal,
sosa le sale la salsa sin sazonar a Sansón.
10. To practice “tr”:
Oscar trabaja y transporta las otras sin costras y también las otras ostras con costras.
11. To practice the “y” and “ll”sounds:
Hoy ya es ayer y ayer ya es hoy. Ya llegó el día, y hoy es hoy.
12. To practice “mb”:
Si el brujo embruja a la bruja y la bruja desembruja al brujo y el brujo vuelve a embrujarla. ¿Cómo se desembrujará la bruja?
13. To practice the “t” sound:
¡Qué triste estás, Tristán, tras tan tétrica trama teatral!
Bonus Spanish Tongue-Twister: Give It A Shot
El cielo está encancaranublado,
¿Quién lo encancaranublaría?
El que lo encancaranubló,
buen encacaranublador sería.
How’d you do on that last one? Not easy, right?
Practicing throughout the day will help get you up to speed.
Repetition is your north. Turn your commute to work, your jog, your shower, etc. into a tongue-twister mania.
Sure, people might look at you differently on the subway, but hey, you’re learning!
Take advantage of those times and chances and you will soon start noticing improvement.
Paying It Forward
Just as repetition is the key when it comes to learning a new discipline like how to play the piano (you do your scales over and over again until you got them down), this method is also beneficial when learning a new language.
The speaking out load and repetition will teach your brain and mouth how to say these often difficult to speak syllables.
You can always apply it to other difficult to say Spanish words and phrases.
Make It Extra Fun - With Competition!
As mentioned before, the objective of a tongue-twister in Spanish is to pronounce it clearly, at a normal speed, without any mistakes.
Game on! Set up two teams.
Each team picks the trabalenguas for the other team. You can increase the speed of speech as a challenge to your opponents.
Next up, come up with your own trabalenguas!
Try it out with your Spanish tutor! They’ll fill you in where your pronunciation is weak.
Also, just because they are native speakers doesn’t mean they can’t trip up over a tricky phrase 🙂
So get started, get outside of your comfort zone, and give it a go.
Now we want to hear from you. Which of the Spanish trabalenguas was most difficult for you?