Swedish Language Blog

Swedish Tongue-Twisters. Part One. Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Pronunciation, Swedish Language

Tongue-twisters are a lot of fun. I remember several from my childhood, trying to say them faster and faster only to eventually be spitting out vowels and consonants in complete disarray. Then laughing. A lot. I was easily amused.

By mister b 1138 (Flickr: Tongue Twister) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This dog is also easily amused by tongue-twisters. By mister b 1138 (Flickr: Tongue Twister) [CC BY 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

But it turns out that being able to spit out “Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore” or “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” can also be a pretty handy learning tool. Trying to get those tongue-twisters out, trying to say them faster and faster, forces you to focus on your pronunciation. Which is pretty handy when you’re trying to learn a new language!

So let’s take a look at a few Swedish tongue-twisters or tungvrickare in Swedish. We’ll start with some easy ones, and then next week I’ll post a few more so you have a chance to practice. Click on the links to hear examples.

First: Flyg, fula fluga, flyg och den fula flugan flög! = Fly ugly fly, fly, and the ugly fly flew! (Which is kind of tricky in English even!)

Next: Sex laxar i en laxask. = Six salmon in a salmon box. (Lax is also slang for 1000 SEK, which I suppose you could put in a box designed specifically for 1000 SEK notes.)

Then: Barbros bror badade bara i Barsebäck. = Barbro’s brother swam only in Barsebäck.

And finally: Ställ stället i ställ-stället i stallet istället. = Place the stand in the stand-place in the stall instead.

No problem, right? Check out the second part in this series: Swedish Tongue-Twisters. Part Two.

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. chad:

    en svan tänkte stjäla en stjälk och stjälpe stjärten mot stjärnorna


    Sju sjuka sjömän ar pa en sjö sköttes av sjutton sköna sjuksköterskor.

  2. Maria E. do Socorro Rodrigues:

    It is interesting and I got more knowledgements about Svenska language