Tongue-twister 早口言葉

Japanese is a language with tons of homophone words. Having many homophones makes it easier to write poems, jokes and tongue-twisters than using other languages. Tong-twisters (早口言葉) are easy to create but some of them are extremely difficult to pronounce without twisting your tongue 🙂

If you are learning Japanese these are some basic 早口言葉:

バスガス爆発(ばすがすばくはつ)(basu gasu bakuhatsu)
赤パジャマ青パジャマ黄パジャマ (あかぱじゃまあおぱじゃまきぱじゃま)(aka pajama ao pajama ki bajama)
生麦生米生卵(なまむぎなまごめなまたまご)(nama mugi nama gome nama tamago)
東京都特許許可局局長(とうきょうととっきょきょかきょくきょくちょう)(toukyouto tokkyo kyoka kyoku kyokuchou)

And in this video you can try to learn one much more complicated 🙂

Chinese has even more homophones. For example this is a poem with 92 syllables, all variations of “shi”. The title of the poem is “Shī Shì shí shī shǐ” and it means (Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den).

« Shī Shì shí shī shǐ »
Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.
What this all means

  • Amstrad

    January 28, 2009 at 2:00 am

    The 92 syllable shi thing reminds me of one of my personal favorite examples of the use of homonyms and homophones in the English language: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    A grammatically correct sentence that more or less means: Buffalo bison whom other Buffalo bison bully themselves bully Buffalo bison

  • sheerblade

    January 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I’ve also heard some that are “手術中(Shujutsuchuu)” and another one that I’ve heard kids say “furutsu ju-su chuu shutsu chuu”

  • Jay

    January 29, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I think that the second 早口言葉 has 茶パジャマat the end..
    aka pajama ao pajama ki pajama cha pajama