Italian Language Blog

The Archbishop Of Constantinople Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 in Culture, Italian Language

Would you like to improve your Italian pronunciation? Master the following scioglilingua and you’ll soon be speaking like a native!

Here’s the first scioglilingua (tongue-twister) that I taught Geoff many years ago:
Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa
Above the bench the goat lives, below the bench the goat dies.

Not too difficult, vero? Well, some people find it quite a challenge. Watch this video:

Here’s another piece of philosophical nonsense:

Andavo a Lione cogliendo cotone, tornavo correndo cotone cogliendo.
I went to Lyon picking cotton, I came back running cotton picking.

Cogliendo cotone is designed to catch you out because if you repeat it several times at a rapid rate you’re likely to end up facendo una figuraccia (making a fool of yourself) by saying the word ‘coglione‘!

Now here’s my personal favourite. I love it because it’s so musical, going round and round in circles like una filastrocca (a nursery rhyme):

Apelle figlio d’Apollo fece una palla di pelle di pollo, tutti i pesci vennero a galla per vedere la palla di pelle di pollo fatta da Apelle figlio d’Apollo
Apelle son of Apollo made a ball from chicken skin, all the fish came to the surface to see the ball of chicken skin made by Apelle son of Apollo

Deep, eh?

Here are two more scioglilingua. These play with the ‘tr’ sound, which is much trickier for my poor tongue:

Tre tigri contro tre tigri
Three tigers versus three tigers

Trentatrè Trentini entrarono dentro Trento tutti e trentatrè trotterellando
Thirty three people from Trento entered into Trento all thirty three trotting along

Theoretically, the following scioglilingua should be pretty easy for me as it uses my name! However, I always stumble on the final word:

Se oggi seren non è doman seren sarà se non sarà seren si rasserenerà
If today isn’t serene it will be serene tomorrow if it isn’t serene it will become serene

But all of the above was really just the warm up … now it’s time for the grand finale … roll of drums …

Se l’arcivescovo di Costantinopoli si disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzasse, vi disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzereste voi come si è disarcivescoviscostantinopolizzato l’arcivescovo di Costantinopoli?
If the archbishop of Constantinople were to resign from being the archbishop of Constantinople, would you resign from being the archbishop of Constantinople like the archbishop of Constantinople resigned from being the archbishop of Constantinople?

Allora, ti si è sciolta la lingua?

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  1. Rita Kostopoulos:

    Grazie mille per gli scioglilingue che sono I miei favoriti Ricordi dei miei giorni in scuola

  2. Gina Bisaillon:

    As long as I can see the words I can say them… not too fast though!

  3. Jacqui:


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