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German Language

German Tongue-Twisters


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As in lots of other languages, in German there are expressions so difficult to be pronounced that they are called "tongue-twisters". All people know this and all people are constantly searching for new victims who will try in vain to pronounce these linguistic monsters, mission impossible due to the conditions required: quick pronunciation and several repetitions.

Our list is not meant to be extensive, but only to give you some representative examples of a linguistic phenomenon that exists in many human languages. For more examples, see the numberless Internet resources related to "Zungenbrecher" (tongue-twisters).

Tongue-twisters often occur in various variants due to the fact that some people try to "improve" the initial wordings, but those "improvements" are not always a real success...



English Translation


Fischers Fritze fischt frische Fische; frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritze.

Fred Fisher fishes fresh fish. It is fresh fish that Fred Fisher fishes.

"Fritze" is a northern German colloquial form of "Fritz" = "Friedrich".

In Ulm, um Ulm, um Ulm herum.

In Ulm, around Ulm, all around Ulm.

Ulm is a Danubian city of Baden-Wurttemberg, located on the border of Bavaria.

Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut, und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.

Red cabbage remains red cabbage and wedding dress remains wedding dress.

"Blaukraut" (= blue cabbage) is the Bavarian and Austrian equivalent of "Rotkraut" (= red cabbage).

Der Cottbuser Postkutscher putzt den Cottbuser Postkutschkasten.

The Cottbus postal coach driver is cleaning the Cottbus postal coach chest.

Cottbus is a German town located in Brandenburg (former German Democratic Republic). Its name is included in the tongue-twister only for reasons of phonetic difficulty.

Wenn Griechen hinter Griechen kriechen, kriechen Griechen hinter Griechen her.

If Greeks are creeping behind Greeks, Greeks are creeping after Greeks.

This "tongue-twister" offers particular problems to Germans coming from the south of Germany, who often speak German dialects that ignore the pronunciation difference between "Gr" and "Kr".

Wir Wiener Waschweiber würden weiße Wäsche waschen, wenn wir Wiener Waschweiber wüssten, wo warmes Wasser wäre.

We, laundrywomen of Vienna, would wash white laundry if we knew where there is warm water.

This is a traditional and frequently-used "tongue-twister" that is not really difficult for adults, but only for children - and there is less difficulty for the tongue than for the brain.

In modern German language, the term of "Waschweib" is no longer used in its initial sense of "laundrywoman", but only in the (colloquial) sense of "gossipy woman" and even "gossipy man".

If you want further German tongue-twisters to be included here, please tell us, thank you in advance!

For tongue-twisters in the regional dialect of Edingen-Neckarhausen (between Mannheim and Heidelberg), see Edingerische Zungenbrecher (in German language).

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There are very many lists of German tongue-twisters on the Web, but a great deal of them do not offer any English translations or are too inflationary to be good. As there is - and can be - no "official" definition of what is a "tongue-twister", even repeated alliterations or rhymes presenting no difficulty of speech are often considered as tongue-twisters. The following table gives you some examples of those lists.

Please be aware of our legal reservation concerning any Internet reference.

Address / Owner

Content / Subjects

1st International Collection of Tongue Twisters

by Michael Reck

This is a collection of rather inflationary lists related to tongue-twisters including a big number of (even exotic) languages. English translations added.

Deutsche Zungenbrecher (German tongue-twisters)

by Dr. Renate Reck

This is the German page of the above international list. Beside well-known examples of "correct German" (Hochdeutsch), it contains many dialectal entries, especially from Southern Germany and Switzerland. English translations added.

Deutsche Zungenbrecher (German tongue-twisters)

by McKinnon Secondary College, Victoria, Australien

German list for educational use. No English translations added.

Deutsche Zungenbrecher (German tongue-twisters)

by Yale University, Connecticut, USA

German list for educational use. No English translations added.

Deutsche Zungenbrecher (German tongue-twisters)

by, "the German Czech Internet portal for young people"

Short German and Czech list. No English translations added.

German Tongue Twisters - Zungenbrecher and Zungenbrecher Part 2 - German Tongue Twisters


Short German lists. English translations and sound added.

Hans-Rudolf Hower, 2005

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Last updated: April 4, 2016