Public Speaking Warm Up: 12 Fun Tongue Twisters!

Tongue twisters are a great way to get your speech organs (articulators) ready for public speaking.  You can use any of these tongue twisters to help you warm up before your next scientific talk.  They are also great ways to practice articulating consonants if English is not your first language!

  1. The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue,
    Photo of cat twisting his tongue from flickr creative commons.
    Photo courtesy of Trish Hamme via flickr creative commons.

    The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.

  2. A box of biscuits.
    A box of mixed biscuits
    And a biscuit mixer.
  3. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
  4. She sells seashells by the seashore.
  5. Better Botter bought some butter,
    But she said, ‘This butter’s bitter!
    If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter.”
    So she bought some better butter,
    Better than the bitter butter,
    And she put it in her batter,
    And it made her batter better.
  6. You know you need unique New York.
  7. Red leather, yellow leather.
  8. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
    A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck
    If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
  9. I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop.
  10. Thistle sticks: sixty six thousand and six thistle sticks.

    Photo of dog twisting his tongue from flickr creative commons
    Courtesy of lo5t from flickr creative commons.
  11. She stood upon the balcony,
    inimically mimicking him hiccuping
    while amicably welcoming him in.
  12.  This one is silly but fun:
    Give me the gift of a grip top sock.
    A dip drape, ship shape, tip top sock.
    Not your spiv slick, slapstick, slip slop stock,
    But a plastic elastic grip top sock.
    None of your fantastic slack swap slop
    From a slap dash, flash cash, haberdash shop.
    Not a knick-knack, knit-lock, knock-kneed, knickerbocker sock
    With a mock shot, blob-mottled, trick tick-tocker clock.
    Not a super-sheer, seersucker, pooka sack, smock sock;
    Not a spot speckled, frog freckled, cheapskate’s sock
    Off a hotch potch, moss blotched botched Scotch block.
    Nothing slip slop, drop drop, flip flop, or clip clop —
    Tip me to a tip top grip top sock.

Homework for this week:
Practice 1-3 of these tongue twisters this week – maybe while you’re taking a shower or driving in your car, or even better, shortly before giving a talk or lecture.  If it’s a short one, repeat it 3-5 times.  How do your vocal organs feel after saying these tongue twisters? 

Report your observations in the comments below! 

Photo of Icelandic street sign with a long, hard-to-pronounce name.
Typical Icelandic Tongue-twister Street name courtesy of on flickr creative commons.



Have a great week!


Jenifer & Adriénne

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