Filed Under (General) by Rob on 18-10-2008

As you know, I’m teaching the ATP ‘Music and the Arts’ course in Kara at the moment. Look, here I am:

Well, the other day we got talking about tongue-twisters, which also exist in Africa. Here’s an amazing Hausa tongue-twister which one of our students taught us:

Kato ya yi koto
Kwado ya yi koto
Kato zai kwace koton kwado koko
Kwado zai kwace koton kato

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It means:

The strong man has pillaged
The toad has pillaged (or pecked!?)
Will the toad grab what the strong man has pillaged
Or will the big man grab what the toad has pillaged.

So, it makes about as much sense as most tongue-twisters then! Here’s another one, this time in the Peulh (Fulani) language. Go on – try saying it:

Nyaamo nyaanya nano
Nano nyaanya nyaamo

It means:

The right scratches the left
The left scratches the right.

Fair enough! I found this great website which has over 2,000 tongue-twisters from all around the globe. There’s also this YouTube video of tongue-twisters spoken by people all over the world. Enjoy!

Whilst we’re on the subject, my favourite French tongue-twister is:
Le chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien est un bon chasseur.

And my favourite German one is:
Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.
(translations upon request!)

Now get those false teeth into gear and see how you do!

4 Comments posted on "African Tongue-twisters!"
Hugo van Tilborg on October 18th, 2008 at 10:22 pm #

the french one as numerous variants… I prefer “un chasseur sachant chasser ne chasse jamais sans son chien”, but you also have “Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse”

more here 🙂

neal on October 19th, 2008 at 9:33 pm #

a little swiss german one for your collection.. 🙂
“Dr Papst het in Spiez ds Bsteck z’spät bsteut”
Something along the lines of “The pope ordered his cutlery too late in Spiez”.. best said in a thick Bärner accent!

Sharon & Johannes on November 1st, 2008 at 10:14 am #

So, if you’re getting married in Germany better make sure there’s no red cabbage at the reception for the bride to spill down her bridal gown.

Rob on November 1st, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

Ach so! Blaukraut ist auf mein Brautkleid gefallen!