• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Local List
8 German tongue-twisters to leave your mouth in knots
Photo: DPA.

8 German tongue-twisters to leave your mouth in knots

The Local · 19 Feb 2016, 16:22

Published: 19 Feb 2016 16:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Feb 2016 16:22 GMT+01:00

Just as English-speakers enjoy a good “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” challenge every now and then, Germans love their Zungenbrecher - literally, tongue-breakers.

Here are some of our favourites. How many can you say five times fast?

1. Wenn Fliegen hinter Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen hinter Fliegen her.

Even the English translation is bit tricky to say: If flies fly behind flies, then flies fly after flies.

2. Schnecken erschrecken, wenn sie an Schnecken schlecken, weil zum Schrecken vieler Schnecken Schnecken nicht schmecken.

This one means: Snails are shocked when they lick snails because to the surprise of many snails, snails don’t taste good.

3. Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid

Photos: DPA.

Wise words: A red cabbage is always a red cabbage, and a wedding dress is always a wedding dress.

4. Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.

This one is a classic: The fisherman’s Fritz fishes for fresh fish, fresh fish is what the fisherman’s Fritz fishes. And don’t worry if you can’t get it on the first go - even the German news anchor struggled with it in the above video.

5. Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen sitzen zwei zechenschwarze tschechisch zwitschernde Zwergschwalben.

This one uses a bit of Bavarian vocabulary - even trickier: Between two plum branches sit two Czech coal-black twittering dwarf swallows.

6. Der dicke Dachdecker deckt Dir dein Dach, drum dank dem dicken Dachdecker, dass der dicke Dachdecker Dir Dein Dach deckte.

Added bonus if you can sing it like this guy: The fat roofer tiles your roof, so thank the fat roofer, that the fat roofer tiled your roof.

7. Am zehnten zehnten um zehn Uhr zehn zogen zehn zahme Ziegen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.

On the tenth of October (10/10) at 10.10am, ten tame goats pulled ten centners (unit of weight) of sugar to the zoo.

8.  Der Grabengräber gräbt die Gräben.

Der Grubengräber gräbt die Gruben.
Graben Grabengräber Gruben?
Graben Grubengräber Gräben?
Nein!
Grabengräber graben Gräben.
Grubengräber graben Gruben

Story continues below…

Eli Duke/Flickr Creative Commons.

The gravedigger digs graves.

The ditchdigger digs ditches.
Do ditchdiggers dig graves?
Do gravediggers dig ditches?

No!
Gravediggers dig graves.
Ditchdiggers dig ditches.

Now if only we could figure out whatever this guy is saying:

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
No injuries after blast near Bavarian migrant centre
A sign at the Zirndorf migrant centre. Photo: DPA

A suitcase, likely packed with aerosol cans, has blown up near a migrant centre on the outskirts of Nuremberg, causing no injuries, police confirm.

Not your average student digs: 'amazing' plastic bubble
Photo: DPA

Could this wacky experiment be the future of student housing?

Police settle train violence over smelly feet
Not the feet in question. Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

A fellow passenger's foot odour proved too much for one traveller to stomach.

How Berliners are responding to the Bavaria attacks
Photo: DPA

Is fear of terrorism creeping up on the capital?

Munich gunman was far-right racist: media reports
Photo: DPA

According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Munich gunman was proud to have been born on the same day as Hitler and hated Turks and Arabs.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach bomber ‘influenced’ by third person: officials
Photo: DPA

Officials in Bavaria have said that the man who blew himself up in an apparent Islamist attack on Sunday was influenced by an as yet unknown person.

What is the link between the attacks in Germany last week?
Police on guard in Munich. Photo: DPA

And how likely are 'copycat' attacks?

Rights experts call for calm after string of violent attacks
Bavaria has called for soldiers to protect the German border. Photo: DPA

Human rights groups and legal experts are warning the government to react responsibly to the attacks and rampages which have taken place in Germany in recent days.

France church attacker had been arrested in Germany
Photo: DPA

A neighbour described the man as a "ticking time bomb".

Dutch join hunt for German terrorists-turned-outlaws
From left to right: Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: DPA.

Dutch police on Tuesday told people to be on the lookout for three German far-left militants, at large for decades and suspected of a string of recent heists.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,756
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd