16 Spanish Tongue Twisters to Improve Your Pronunciation Fast
Tongue twisters, or trabalenguas, are an excellent tool to improve your Spanish accent and pronunciation.
Repeating tongue twisters can also help speed up your speech and improve overall fluency.
Let’s get started on twisting your tongue around some trabalenguas.
- Beginner Spanish Tongue Twisters
- Intermediate Spanish Tongue Twisters
- Advanced Spanish Tongue Twisters
- Why Learn Spanish Tongue Twisters?
- Resources for Practicing Spanish Tongue Twisters
Beginner Spanish Tongue Twisters
1. Tres tristes tigres tragan trigo en un trigal.
English: Three sad tigers swallow wheat in a wheat field.
Sound easy? Try repeating it over and over again.
If you’re having trouble, spend some time practicing the tre, tri and re sounds on their own.
Once you’ve got it, try seeing how quickly you can say it without tripping over the words.
2. Pablito clavó un clavito. ¿Qué clavito clavó Pablito?
English: Little Pablo hit a little nail. Which little nail did little Pablo hit?
This one helps practice the diminutive sound ito and is a nice little story, though it’s best not to dwell on why Pablito is allowed near a hammer.
3. El vino vino, pero el vino no vino vino. El vino vino vinagre.
English: The wine came, but the wine wasn’t wine. The wine came vinegary.
This tongue twister plays on the fact that vino (wine) can also be understood as the past tense of venir (to come). They’re pronounced the same, so this can be a tricky one to remember, even if it looks simple.
This practices the v sound, which is the same as the b sound in Spanish. So, this tongue twister allows you to practice two sounds in one without any extra effort.
4. Rápido corren los carros, cargados de azúcar del ferrocarril.
English: The carts go quickly, laden with sugar from the train.
This is designed to practice the rr sound, which is written here as erre. Make sure you’re really pronouncing the rr and not just the r sound.
If you’re struggling, try saying a word with r and a word with rr, one after the other.
For example, you could switch between coro (choir) and corro (I run). Record yourself saying the words and play it back to see if you can tell the difference.
Click here to watch a fun YouTube video featuring the tongue twister.
5. Si don Curro ahorra ahora, ahora ahorra don Curro.
English: If Mr. Curro saves now, now saves Mr. Curro.
If you want some extra help with tongue twister #4, start here instead.
In this one, you should be able to clearly hear the difference between the rr and r sounds with ahorra and ahora.
For similar practice, try saying pero (but) and perro (dog) back to back in the same way.
Intermediate Spanish Tongue Twisters
6. Compadre, coco no compro, porque el que poco coco come, poco coco compra.
English: Buddy, I don’t buy coconut, because those who eat little coconut, buy little coconut.
This fun rhyme practices the co sound in various forms, often adding the m to make com, which is pronounced exactly as it looks—with a long o sound.
7. De generación en generación las generaciones se degeneran con mayor degeneración.
English: From generation to generation the generations degenerate with more degeneracy.
Though it’s a bleak take on society, this tongue twister is still good for your Spanish. Here you’ll practice the soft g sound.
Since we don’t pronounce the letter “g” like this in English, it might take some extra work to get this one down.
8. Ñoño Yáñez come ñame en las mañanas con el niño.
English: Dimwit Yáñez eats yam in the mornings with the boy.
This fun tongue twister will help you with a letter English doesn’t have at all: the ñ.
Remember that ñ should sound like the “ny” in “canyon.”
Try getting the hang of Ñoño, Yáñez, ñame, mañanas and niño individually before you string the whole thing together.
9. Papá pon pan para Pepín, para Pepín pon pan papá.
English: Dad serves bread for Pepin, for Pepin Dad serves bread.
Why is Pepin only getting bread? Hard to say.
While the p sound isn’t necessarily difficult, putting a bunch in a row like this certainly makes for a tricky tongue twister! Practice it slowly before you start picking up speed.
10. Chiquito chanchito cochinito, echado en la charca está.
English: Tiny dirty little piggy is lying in the pond.
Here’s another trabalenguas with the diminutive ito sound, paired with ch Latin American slang words.
This one includes two ways to say “pig” in Spanish (chancho, conchino), but there are actually three other ways (cerdo, marrano, puerco), all of which can also mean “dirty” or “untidy” in English!
11. ¡Qué triste estás, Tristán, tras tan tétrica trama teatral!
English: How sad you are, Tristán, after such a gloomy theatrical plot!
The reason for Tristán’s unhappy mood isn’t that much clearer once you know the whole tongue twister.
Regardless, this one will get you practicing the t sound. If you’re having difficulties, try repeating the tactic from #1 by getting the hang of the initial sounds first.
Advanced Spanish Tongue Twisters
12. Si la sierva que te sirve, no te sirve como sierva, de qué sirve que te sirvas de una sierva que no sirve.
English: If the servant that serves you, serves you not as a servant, of what use is the service of a servant that doesn’t serve.
This tongue twister will help you get the hang of that pesky s.
Definitely focus on getting this one slowly, line by line, at first. Note that sirve is used differently throughout this tongue twister.
13. Yo vi en un huerto un cuervo cruento comerse el cuero del cuerpo del puerco muerto.
English: I saw, in a vegetable patch, a blood-covered crow eating the hide of the body of the dead swine.
This one paints a very distinct (and somewhat disturbing) image.
Yuck… Memorable though!
Most importantly, you’re practicing the Spanish ue sound. Try them individually first: huerto, cuervo, cruento and so on.
14. La sucesión sucesiva de sucesos sucede sucesivamente con la sucesión del tiempo.
English: The successive series of events follows successively with the succession of time.
This tongue twister will help you with both the s and th sounds.
You should be aiming for a similar pronunciation to Sicilia (Sicily), as pronounced in Castilian Spanish.
Again, try the words on their own first. It may help to start with a smaller one first (sucede, for example) and work up to the longer ones (like sucesivamente).
15. El volcán de Parangaricutirimícuaro se quiere desparangaricutirimicuarizar; el que lo desparangaricutirimicuarice, buen desparangaricutirimicuarizador será.
English: The Parangaricutirimícuaro volcano wants to de-parangaricutirimicuarize itself; the one who de-parangaricutirimicuarizes it will be a good de-parangaricutirimicuarizer.
Don’t understand? Don’t worry, neither does anyone else.
This one’s pure nonsense, though it’s allegedly derived from the name of Mexico’s Paricutín volcano and that of a neighboring town, San Juan Parangaricutiro.
To attempt to produce this trabalenguas, break it down and practice the parts of the words on their own before joining them together.
Start by repeating parangari then cutiri.
Then, practice the different endings: Mícuaro, micuarizar, micuarice and micuarizador.
16. Tras el triple trapecio de Trípoli, trepaban trigonométricamente tres tristes triunviros trogloditas, trastocados y traspuestos por el tremendo tretralcatrapense.
English: Through the triple trapezium of Tripoli, three sad troglodytes triumvirate climbed trigonometrically, changed and dazed by the tremendous tretralcatrapense.
You probably won’t be able to make heads or tails of the Spanish or English versions of this one.
Focus on working out those sounds. As always, it helps to break the tongue twister into smaller parts and join them together later.
Perhaps start at the end and practice saying: tretralcatrapense, then tremendo tretralcatrapense. Slowly add the rest of the words until you’re saying the entire trabalenguas.
Why Learn Spanish Tongue Twisters?
Tongue twisters are often used by speech therapists to help young children produce sounds in Spanish. The most common problem is the rr sound, so it makes sense this is a common issue for others learning Spanish as well.
Using tongue twisters to practice will help you teach your mouth to produce sounds it isn’t used to making. Further, tongue twisters can improve memory and focus, as repeating them aids concentration.
Reciting a trabalenguas is also a fun party trick! You’ll impress your Spanish-speaking friends, and probably the English-speaking ones too. Tongue twisters can fill a gap in conversation, provide laughs during a conversation exchange or be passed on to new amigos (friends).
Resources for Practicing Spanish Tongue Twisters
You can use the tongue twisters on this list as a way to learn how to speak Spanish and sound like a native.
There are hundreds of additional Spanish tongue twisters out there too, some of which you can find at these websites:
The FluentU language learning program also has several videos of trabalenguas, with interactive subtitles that you can read aloud as the clip goes on.
But if these Spanish tongue twisters are still too advanced for you, you can also build up to them by exploring the video library of Spanish media clips, including movie trailers and cartoons.
Like the trabalenguas, the videos have interactive captions that pause the video as you hover over or click them, showing you definitions and pronunciations.
The personalized quizzes also include speaking exercises that help you practice pronunciation.
There’s no shortage of material available to help you work on your Spanish pronunciation. Soon you’ll be speeding through these tongue twisters with ease.