Can You Say This Vowelless Tounge Twister?

There is a Czech tongue twister “Strč prst skrz krk” (meaning  “stick your finger through your throat”) which doesn’t contain any vowel. It’s difficult to pronounce this sentence, especially for foreigners. So it’s used as a challenge for those learning Czech as a foreign language if they can pronounce it.

Someone told me that this sentence is even used by the Czechs as a test of sobriety.

Here is an example of a longer Czech tongue twister without a vowel.

Škrt plch z mlh Brd pln skvrn z mrv prv hrd scvrnkl z brzd skrz trs chrp v krs vrb mls mrch srn čtvrthrst zrn.

which translates as

A cheapskate dormouse, richly dotted by manure, who hails from the mists of Brdy (mountain range in Czech Republic) at first proudly flicked a snack for those goddamn deers – consisting of a quarter of a cupped hand of corn – from brakes through a tuft of cornflowers into dwarf willows.

Can you give some difficult tongue twisters from your language?

Here’s mine.

《施氏食獅史》

石室詩士施氏,嗜獅,誓食十獅。

氏時時適市視獅。

十時,適十獅適市。

是時,適施氏適市。

氏視是十獅,恃矢勢,使是十獅逝世。

氏拾是十獅屍,適石室。

石室濕,氏使侍拭石室。

石室拭,氏始試食是十獅。

食時,始識是十獅屍,實十石獅屍。

試釋是事。

(Note: Read it in Mandarin since Cantonese is easier though it’s still pretty hard.)

About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkMLaw and Facebook. My email is learnfunfacts@gmail.com
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21 Responses to Can You Say This Vowelless Tounge Twister?

  1. craftysurf says:

    Ummm….yeah. I have enough difficulty with “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
    With my redneck accent though, I still sound drunk 😳

    Liked by 2 people

  2. yassy says:

    Wonderful. Thx For posting

    Liked by 1 person

  3. verag1974 says:

    In France it would be this :
    Les chaussettes de l’archi duchesse sont-elles sèches ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg! My father taught me this one! The thing about Czech is it’s great gymnastics for one’s tongue.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. By the way, a fun fact you might want to look at is why “Czech” is written in neither the Czech sound system nor English. We never use cz in written Czech. That’s Polish or something.
    We say Česká republika or Česko (Czech Republic), or Čechy (Bohemia). The “ch” doesn’t even have the “k” sound, and the English “ch” is č.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mandarin is just as easy as Cantonese…when you speak neither! 😉 😉

    And what does “stick your finger through your throat” even mean?

    You’re making my brain hurt, Edmark! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • The truth is, foreigners find that Mandarin is lot easier to learn. I have seen many foreigners who are fluent at Mandarin. However, I seldom see any foreigner who is good at Cantonese. While they may be able to understand and speak it, they just can’t get the tone right unlike in the case of Mandarin.

      Yeah, it’s weird…

      Liked by 2 people

    • To my knowledge, “stick your finger through your throat” isn’t supposed to mean anything. It’s not an idiom. I believe it was just created for the benefit of the tongue twister, since there aren’t that many vowel-less words to choose from, and this particular combination of consonant blends and vowel-less words gives quite a good challenge and workout.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. janahpinku says:

    Just tried this and failed. I guess I’m gonna warm up with Peter Piper first! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can also try this. It’s a lot shorter.

      Greek grapes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • janahpinku says:

        I will try, though I have a problem with r’s. I’m not sure what it is called (rhotatism, maybe?) but my r’s sound a lot like w’s hahaha.

        Gweek gwapes. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s rhotacism

        Most Chinese can’t pronounce the letter “r” since there is no trilling r sound in the Chinese language. They tend to substitute the r sound with l sound :D.

        And in Hong Kong, we use British English which is non-rhotic (e.g. water is pronounced as wɔːtə).

        Liked by 1 person

      • janahpinku says:

        That explains it! I often hear Chinese-Filipinos here in the country speak to each other with that distinct l sound.

        The British English pronunciation is brought mostly by Britain’s colonization of Hong Kong, is that correct?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, they’re pretty funny…

        Yes, but they didn’t adapt it completely. For example, despite pronouncing the letter “z” as “zed”, we don’t pronounce “zero” and “zebra” as “ze-ro” and “ze-bra”. Instead, we use the American pronunciations “zi-ro” and “ze-bra”. There are also several British English words and usage not adapted like “speciality”, “lorry”, “loo”, “telly” and “pub”.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. suzannesmom says:

    Funny. We used to talk about airlifting vowels to Bosnia … until we learned the war was no joke.

    Like

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