French Tongue Twisters (Des virelangues français)

Who doesn’t love a good tongue twister? It seems that no matter where you’re from, what your native language is, or what language you’re learning everybody loves to learn new tongue twisters.

Let’s take a look at some of the best (and funniest) French tongue twisters that you can learn from and practice yourself.

1. Les chaussettes de l’archi-duchesse, sont-elles sèches ou archi-sèches ?

A classic French tongue twister. The translation is “Are the archduchess’s socks dry or extra dry?” Another popular version of this is “Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse sont-elles sèches ? Elles sont sèches, archi-sèches.”

2. Cinq chiens chassent six chats

A simple, but difficult tongue twister. Don’t be fooled by its short length. Repeating this one five or more times will likely trip you up. It’s translation is “Five dogs hunt six cats.”

3. Ces six saucissons-ci sont si secs qu’on ne sait si c’en sont

This is another classic French tongue twister that comes in a lot of variations. The translation for the sentence above is “These six sausages are so dry that we don’t know if they really are sausages.” Some of the other popular variations of this include, « Ces cerises sont si sûres qu’on ne sait pas si c’en sont » (these cherries are so sour that we don’t know if they really are cherries), « Ces cyprès sont si loin qu’on ne sait si c’en sont » (these cypresses are so far that we don’t know if they really are cypresses) and « Combien coûtent ces six saucissons-ci ? Ces six saucissons-ci sont à six sous » (How much do these six sausages cost? These six sausages cost six coins).

4. Je suis ce que je suis, et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis ?

This one is a little simpler than most and would probably be good for beginners to practice with. It’s translation is “I am what I am, and if I am what I am, what am I?”

5. Si mon tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu.

A fantastic French tongue twister for showing how so many different French words can all have the same pronunciation. The translation is “If my uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaved.” A slight variation of this is « Tonton, ton thé t’a-t-il ôté ta toux ? » which means “Uncle, did your tea heal your cough?”

6. Un chasseur sachant chasser chasse sans son chien

This one can be difficult to get through even once! If you want a real challenge then one is definitely for you. The translation is “A hunter who knows how to hunt hunts without his dog.” If you don’t feel confident enough for this tongue twister then try number two (cinq chiens chassent six chats) on this list as it’s shorter, a little easier and contains a lot of the same sounds.

7. Cinq gros rats grillent dans la grosse graisse grasse

If you’re a native-English speaker then this one will likely be intimidating for you thanks to all of the Rs. Nevertheless, it makes for great practice and can really help you master those pesky Rs. Its translation is « Five fat rats grill in the big, fatty fat ».

8. La mule a bu tant qu’elle a pu

This French tongue twister will help whip your Us into shape. It’s short and overall not very complicated. Its translation is “The mule drank all that it could.”

9. Je veux et j’exige, j’exige et je veux

This one comes in quite a few forms, but this one is my personal favorite. Its translation is “I want and I demand, I demand and I want.”  Other popular forms of this include « Je veux et j’exige du jasmin et des jonquilles » and « Je veux et j’exige d’exquises excuses ».

10. Trente-trois gros crapauds gris dans trente-trois gros trous creux

Another good one that will help you master your Rs.The translation here is« Thirty-three fat gray toads in thirty-three large hollow holes ».If this tongue twister is too intimidating for you then try this simplified one, « Trois gros crapauds dans trois gros trous creux ».

11. Des blancs pains, des bancs peints, des bains pleins

French spelling can certainly be a nightmare and this one surely shows it. The translation for this tongue twister is, “White bread, painted benches, full bathtubs.”

12. Un taxi attaque six taxis

A nice simple French tongue twister that even beginners should be able to master without too much difficulty. The translation for this one is “A taxi attacks six taxis.”

13. Poisson sans boisson est poison

The difficulty with this tongue twister is clearly in the difference in pronunciation between the sound of the S’s in poisson and boisson and the S in poison. If you can avoid slipping up on this then you shouldn’t have any problem saying this one. The translation is “Fish without drink is poison.” A very similar variation of this is « Poisson sans boisson, c’est poison » which I feel is marginally more difficult than the above version.

14. La roue sur la rue roule ; la rue sous la roue reste

Get ready to practice your Rs again. The translation for this one is “The wheel rolls on the road ; the road stays under the wheel.”

15. Fruits cuits, fruits crus

Saying this one just once may not be that difficult, but try it just a few times and you’ll likely have some difficulties. Translating this into English gives us “cooked fruits, raw fruits.”

16. Le ver vert va vers le verre vert

This is another French tongue twister that shows the ridiculousness off French spelling and pronunciation. Despite this, it’s actually quite to pronounce. The English translation is “The green worm goes towards the green glass.”

17. Son chat chante sa chanson

This is probably the best tongue twister for beginning French learners as it’s not very long or difficult to say. It’s translation is “His/her cat sings its song.”

18. Si six scies scient six cyprès ci-près, six cents scies scient six cents cyprès ci-près

You can’t look up any list of French tongue twisters without finding this one (or some variant of it.) It’s one of those that isn’t all that difficult to pronounce, but shows the absurdity of French spelling and pronunciation. It translates to, “If six saws saw six cypresses close to here, six hundred saws saw six hundred cypresses close to here.”

19. Pauvre petit pêcheur, prend patience pour pouvoir prendre plusieurs petits poissons.

Get ready to practice your Ps with this relatively long French tongue twister. It’s English translation is “Poor little fisherman patiently waits so he can catch several small fish.”

20. Dans ta tente ta tante t’attend

Another one that’s great for beginners. The main difficulty here is transitioning from the words tente and tante, which are pronounced the same to t’attend which isn’t. With just a little bit of practice you’ll have this one down pat. In English it says “Your aunt it waiting for you in your tent.”

There are so many French tongue twisters out there that we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Which ones didn’t we list here? Comment below and tell us.

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