27 German Tongue Twisters [Audio Included]

Tongue twisters, or Zungenbrecher (literally, “tongue breakers”), are a fantastic way to practice your German pronunciation

The key to tongue twisters is the repetition—by repeating a bunch of difficult sounds over and over, they force your tongue to get to grips with them.

Tongue twisters also improve your memory and focus. The repetition and similar sounds help your brain pay closer attention to what you’re trying to say.

And it’s not only language learners who use tongue twisters! Speech therapists also use them to help train native speakers, so you’re in good company.

Read on to find 27 German tongue twisters to get you started! (Note that the English translations are literal and therefore may seem a little weird—tongue twisters don’t always make sense, after all.)


Easy German Tongue Twisters

1. In Ulm

In Ulm, um Ulm, um Ulm herum.
(In Ulm, around Ulm, all around Ulm.)

None of the sounds in this sentence should be difficult for American tongues. The trick is being able to slip in the where needed.

It’s one of the easier tongue twisters on this list, but it’s probably the most fun to say at full speed!

2. Acht alte Ameisen

Acht alte Ameisen aßen am Abend Ananas.
(Eight old ants ate pineapples in the evening.)

Again, this one shouldn’t be too difficult. The main point is being able to say all those a sounds in such a short span of time.

One benefit of this twister is getting your brain used to pronouncing the German as ah (and not like the American ay sound).

3. Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid

Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut.
(A wedding dress will always be a wedding dress and red cabbage will always be red cabbage.)

All those b sounds are the potential pitfalls here. There’s also a sneaky br in there. Germans usually roll their r when it follows a consonant, something which is uncommon in English and can be difficult for an English speaker to pronounce correctly.

Once you’ve nailed it in this tongue twister, though, it’ll come more naturally in your everyday German.

4. Zehn Ziegen zogen

Zehn Ziegen zogen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.
(Ten goats carried ten hundredweights of sugar to the zoo.)

This twister contains repeated z sounds and the ts sound in  Zentner (hundredweight). Once you get the z down pat (through lots of practice!), this one will be a piece of cake.

Intermediate German Tongue Twisters

5. Fischers Fritze

Fischers Fritze fischt frische Fische; Frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritze.
(Fritz, the fisherman’s son, fishes for fresh fish; for fresh fish fishes Fritz, the fisherman’s son.)

Okay, so there’s a lot going on in this one. Continually switching between the fi and fri sounds is hard enough, but there’s also the tricky sche, which non-native speakers often struggle with. To tackle this one, take each word separately first.

Once you can pronounce each individual word without any problems, begin to pair them up. Eventually, you’ll be able to say the whole sentence all at once. As your confidence rises, speed it up and impress your friends!

6. Im dichten Fichtendickicht

Im dichten Fichtendickicht sind dicke Fichten wichtig.
(In the thick spruce thicket thick spruces are important.)

For this tongue twister, you need to be able to differentiate between ch and ck. The former is more of a guttural sound, and one we don’t have in English—think of how the Scottish pronounce the -ch in “loch.” The latter sound is pronounced just as we would say it in English.

It can be tricky interchanging these as quickly as is needed in this phrase but, as with all tongue twisters, speed modification is the key! Start off slowly and build it up until you can say it like a native.

7. Hundert hungrige Handwerker

Hundert hungrige Handwerker haben Heißhunger auf Hamburger.
(One hundred hungry craftsmen are super hungry for hamburgers.)

This twister not only contains a lot of h sounds, but also similar-sounding words in quick succession. To master this one, practice saying the individual words quickly, then all together.

8. Fünf Fliegen

Fünf Fliegen auf einem Felsen, fünf Fliegen fliegen fort.
(Five flies on a rock, five flies fly away.)

So much alliteration, and so many fl, f and ff sounds! Luckily, there are two noticeable components to this twister: Fünf Fliegen auf einem Felsen and fünf Fliegen fliegen fort .

Try to practice one part at a time until you’re comfortable saying them together.

9. Furcht vor Fruchtfleisch

Furcht vor Fruchtfleisch führt zu Flucht vor Fruchtfleisch.
(Fear of fruit pulp leads to fleeing from fruit pulp.)

The f sounds continue! Here, you’re switching between open vowel sounds and subtle consonant sounds after the f. Watch out too for the difference between the more open u-sound and the more compressed ü-sound!

10. Der Dachdecker

Der Dachdecker deckt dein Dach, drum dank dem Dachdecker, der dein Dach deckt.
(The roofer roofs your roof, so thank the roofer who roofs your roof.)

Look at that alliteration! And it’s so often used in English tongue twisters too.

There aren’t any overly complicated sounds in this one. It just requires perseverance to get over all those sounds. If you slow things down from the start, you’ll be singing it before long!

11. Bierbrauer Bauer

Bierbrauer Bauer braut braunes Bier.
(Beer brewing farmers brew brown beer.)

So many sounds (even in English)! This one ups the ante along with its br pronunciation.

To master this one, take the words Bierbrauer  (brewer), braut (brew) and braunes  (brown) on their own and learn their pronunciations separately. Once you’ve conquered them individually, join the sentence back together and slowly take it on as a whole.

12. Wenn Fliegen

Wenn Fliegen hinter Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen nach.
(When flies fly behind flies, flies fly after flies.)

The repeated f and fl sounds, along with the alliteration, can really trip up non-native speakers here. Just keep an eye out for the four words that aren’t fliegen (fly), and you should be good.

13. Zwei zottelige Ziegen

Zwei zottelige Ziegen zogen Zement durch die Zone.
(Two shaggy goats dragged cement through the zone.)

This twister includes repeating z and zz sounds, which can be tricky to pronounce quickly without mixing them up.

Practice ziegen (goats), zogen (pulled) and  zone (zone) in particular, and this shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. 

14. In einem Schokoladenladen

In einem Schokoladenladen kaufen brave Schokoladenmädchen feinste Schokolade.
(In a chocolate shop, good chocolate girls buy the finest chocolate.)

All those sch, d and m sounds can really do a number on your tongue!

I suggest practicing Schokoladenladen (chocolate shop), Schokoladenmädchen (chocolate girls) and Schokolade (chocolate) before saying this one in its entirety.

Challenging German Tongue Twisters

15. Am Zehnten Zehnten

Am Zehnten Zehnten um zehn Uhr zehn zogen zehn zahme Ziegen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.
(On October 10th at 10:10, 10 tame goats pull 10 centners [antiquated European weight unit] of sugar to the zoo.)

The goats are back again! And this time, they’ve brought even more z‘s with them.

Once you master the German z, it’s relatively easy to say—you just have to imagine that there’s an imaginary t in front of it, so you pronounce it as ts. This tongue twister becomes slightly easier to rattle off once you know this trick!

16. Graben Grabengräber

Graben Grabengräber Gruben?
Graben Grubengräber Gräben?
Grabengräber graben Gräben.
Grubengräber graben Gruben.

(Do gravediggers dig ditches?
Do ditchdiggers dig graves?
Gravediggers dig graves.
Ditchdiggers dig ditches.)

There are lots of vowel sounds jumping around in this poem-like twister. Remember that the umlaut on some of the a‘s changes their sound from ah to ay. This bit of insight makes the tongue twister seem much simpler.

There are still some r sounds that need rolling. But if you’re this far down the list, you’ll have met them already!

17. Rund um den runden Rasen

Rund um den runden Rasen rasen Hasen, rasen Hasen rund um den runden Rasen.
(Around the round lawn, hares race, hares race around the round lawn.)

Switching between r and ra sounds rapidly can be a challenge! Conquering this twister can take a while—namely, practicing each word individually—but that effort is worth it.

18. Kluge kleine Katzen

Kluge kleine Katzen kratzen keine Krokodile, sondern kluge kleine Katzen kratzen kahle Kinnbacken.
(Clever little cats don’t scratch crocodiles, but clever little cats scratch bare chins.)

This twister has a lot of k sounds—not to mention kl, kr and kn sounds.

If practicing each word sounds like too much trouble, you can try saying Kluge kleine Katzen kratzen keine Krokodile out loud first, then sondern kluge kleine Katzen kratzen kahle Kinnbacken .

19. Auf dem rasenden Rasen

Auf dem rasenden Rasen robben rasende Robben.
(On the racing lawn, racing seals crawl.)

Like tongue twister #17, this involves a lot of r and ra sounds, though it’s a bit more manageable. (And hey, it involves cute bouncing seals, so no complaints from me!)

20. Der Cottbuser Postkutscher

Der Cottbuser Postkutscher putzt den Cottbuser Postkutschkasten.
(The Cottbus post coachman cleans the Cottbus mail coach box.)

This twister has a ton of consonant combos like tsch, ck, k and sch. You can focus on  Postkutscher (coachman) and  Postkutschkasten (coach box) during practice before you say this in full.

21. Fliegenpilze findest du fein

Fliegenpilze findest du fein, Fräulein, fußfrei fitzelnd frierend.
(Fly agarics [mushrooms], you find them fine, Miss, footloose, fiddling, freezing.)

Just looking at all those f, fl, fi, fr and fu sounds can be nerve-wracking, even though the twister as a whole doesn’t really mean anything.

Like with some of the previous entries, it would be a good idea to either practice each word individually or break it down into parts that feel comfortable for you.

22. Braut Boris

Braut Boris brät Bärenbratwürste, brät Boris Bärenbratwürste?
(Groom Boris fries bear bratwurst, does Boris fry bear bratwurst?)

This twister involves several br, b and w sounds, along with the challenging tsch sound. And watch out—there are also several word pairs in quick succession that make it easy for your tongue to stumble over them!

You can practice each pair first before combining them together (e.g., do  Braut Boris before brät Bärenbratwürste ).

23. In Hagen, hinter Hagen

In Hagen, hinter Hagen, jagen hagere Jäger hehre Hasen.
(In Hagen, behind Hagen, lean hunters chase noble hares.)

This twister contains plenty of and j sounds, particularly in the last half. I would divvy it up into manageable parts (e.g.,  In Hagen, hinter Hagen then jagen hagere Jäger hehre Hasen ).

24. Hottentotten

(Assassination of a Hottentot potentate’s aunt.)

Who thought just one word would count as a tongue twister? Welcome to the world of German compound words! Germans love joining their words together, which results in some ridiculously long trains of letters just like the one above.

To have this word effortlessly trip off your tongue, you need to attack it as if it was a bunch of smaller words. Take each of its component parts on their own: Hottentotten  (Hottentot), Potentaten (potentate), Tanten (aunt) and Attentat (assassination).

As previously mentioned, say these very slowly until you know the pronunciation effortlessly. Then, join them up into the one long word.

25. Schnecken erschrecken

Schnecken erschrecken, wenn Schnecken an Schnecken schlecken, weil zum Schrecken vieler Schnecken Schnecken nicht schmecken.
(Snails get scared when snails lick snails because to the horror of many snails, snails don’t taste good.)

Almost-cannibalism aside, this tongue twister is high up on this list in terms of difficulty due to the length and repeated sch, s and schm sounds.

I would try to remember that schnecken means “snail,”  schlecken means “lick” and  schrecken means “scare.”

26. Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen

Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen sitzen zwei zechenschwarze tschechisch zwitschernde Zwergschwalben.
(Between two plum tree branches, two dark Czech Twittering Dwarf Swallows sit.)

Oof, there’s a lot of z sounds, not to mention tsch, sch and zw sounds. This is another tongue twister that would particularly benefit from being broken down into manageable bits before being said out loud altogether.

27. Ein chinesisches Schüsselschiff

Ein chinesisches Schüsselschiff mit chinesischem Schüsselgeschirr schippert geschwind durch die schimmernde Schilfsee.
(A Chinese bowl ship with Chinese bowl dishes swiftly sails through the shimmering reed sea.)

Now this one is a beast! You’ll need to get all those sch, ch and s sounds down pat. If you dare to take on this one, I suggest taking as much time as you can with it.

How to Master German Tongue Twisters

Being able to ace a German tongue twister may seem like an impossible task, but if you take things slowly, you’ll soon realize just how easy (and fun!) they are to pick up.

If you’re lucky enough to know a native German speaker, ask them to slowly read out a couple of tongue twisters. This way you’ll hear how they’re meant to sound.

You can also look online for videos—YouTube has plenty of videos of German tongue twisters. Here’s a pretty entertaining one from YouTubers Deana and Phil:

If you like learning with videos but want to make sure the captions are always correct, consider the language learning program FluentU, which has a large library of German-language videos that come with expert-vetted subtitles and plenty of other helpful learning tools.

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There are also podcasts available with German teachers explaining exactly how to say tongue twisters, like this one from Ask Angelika.

As for my best tip: Always start off small.

Break the tongue twister into manageable parts and work on each one individually. Once you can say each part clearly, then try attempting the whole tongue twister. And once you’ve cracked it in its entirety—speed it up!


Is your tongue tired yet? Keep persevering. You’ll be amazed how effective tongue twisters are for your speaking skills. Once you can fluently say a tongue twister, you’ll be able to copy the sounds in your everyday spoken German.

With plenty of practice, you might even have a chance at beating a native speaker in a tongue twister competition one day!

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