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For International Tongue Twister Day, don’t get your tongue tied this November 8. We’re not talking about rolling or curling your taste-tester. In fact, we’re looking at Peter Piper, the woodchuck, and all their friends. Tongue twisters are a silly way to pass the time or practice pronunciation. Shoot, you can even use them to practice a foreign language! It’s time to celebrate all the twisty things you can say with your tongue.
History of International Tongue Twister Day
Tongue twisters, the popular nonsensical sayings that are ridiculously hard to say (or deceptively easy, whichever way you want to look at it) might seem to be simply alliterative strings of words meant to trip up, well, your tongue but, as it turns out, tongue twisters are not random, which is why the popular ones — like Peter Piper and the woodchuck — have been around for a hot minute.
Tongue twisters have technically been around since as early as the 19th century when John Harris published “Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation,” which included a twisty tongue tango for every letter of the alphabet. And while the book was meant to help children learn the fundamentals of speech mechanics, its titular twister garnered quite the attention and inspired a lot of lore about its namesake.
Speculation aside, it turns out Peter Piper was based on French horticulturalist Pierre Poivre, whose last name actually means ‘pepper’ in French. Pierre was said to be exploring the viability of growing American spices in the French Mediterranean.
Whether you’re trying to master Peter Piper, the woodchuck, or even “The Guinness Book of World Records’” most difficult recorded tongue twister, “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick,” you’re sure to get your tongue endlessly tied.
International Tongue Twister Day timeline
The classic nursery rhyme premieres in “Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation,” along with other tongue twisters that start with different letters.
Robert and Richard Sherman write the popular song and sell it to Disney for their “Mary Poppins” movie, however, songwriters Barney Young and Gloria Parker claim they wrote a song using the word which Young had allegedly made up in 1921 — the judge throws the case, citing it as a popular New York saying.
Werner Herzog gives fans “How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck”: Observations of a New Language,” dealing with the 13th World Livestock Auctioneering Championship.
“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod” is dubbed the trickiest tongue twister in the English language.
International Tongue Twister Day FAQs
Is Peter Piper related to Pied Piper?
The Pied Piper appears in a German folktale that dates back to the Middle Ages in which a piper lured rats away from the city. It is not related to the 19th century English nursery rhyme based on a French horticulturist.
What are some other famous tongue twisters?
“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck,” “She sells seashells,” “How can a clan cream in a clean cream can,” and “Betty bought some butter” are popular tongue twisters.
How much wood could a woodchuck actually chuck?
According to a research team at Cornell University, a woodchuck could actually chuck approximately 700 pounds of wood.
What is the most challenging English tongue twister?
According to a team at MIT, “Pad kid poured curd pulled cod” is the most technically difficult tongue twister. Try saying that 10 times fast!
INTERNATIONAL TONGUE TWISTER DAY ACTIVITIES
Practice and recite your favorite tongue twisters
What better excuse to perfect the most twisted of them all? Spend the day mastering your favorites and then put them to the test in front of friends and family.
Host a tongue twister competition
Think you’ve got the chops to best your crew at the classics? Put your skills to the test in a friendly tongue-twister-off. Bonus if you can give them a run for their money with more than one.
Write your own crazy combination
Sure, the classic tongue twisters are great, but they’re a little tired. We could all use a reboot with some new additions. Who better to whip one up than an enthusiast?
5 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT PETER PIPER
It started as an English nursery rhyme
The most infamous tongue twister started out as the 1813 “Peter Piper” nursery rhyme.
Peter Piper is based on a real person
Pierre Poivre was a French horticulturalist who may have been the subject of the infamous nursery rhyme a generation before its publication.
Monsieur Poivre is directly linked to spices
Not only does ‘poivre’ mean ‘pepper’ in French, but Poivre was investigating the possibility of using the Seychelles to grow spices.
Peter had a lot of peppers
A peck is the modern-day equivalent of two gallons.
He’s inspired many businesses
Peter Piper has become the name of several businesses, specifically Pizza joints.
WHY WE LOVE INTERNATIONAL TONGUE TWISTER DAY
It reminds us to stay goofy
Tongue twisters were invented as nursery rhymes and they’re quite silly nonsense. Unleash your inner child and forget the hustle and bustle of adult life with these dastardly dramas.
It can help you practice languages
Tongue twisters were originally invented to help children learn speech and pronunciation. They can also be great tools and pneumonic devices for learning foreign language concepts. Find some tongue twisters in another language and get twistin’.
It’s the best way to get tied up in your words
Forget complicated lying. On International Tongue Twister Day, you have a good excuse to get caught with your tongue in a bunch — that’s certainly the preferable reason over lying.
International Tongue Twister Day dates