sci.lang.japan FAQ / 11. Word games

11.4. Do you know any Japanese tongue-twisters?

Japanese tongue twisters are called Hayakuchi kotoba (早口言葉). Here are some examples gleaned from the newsgroup.
Romaji Kana and kanji Meaning
Migi mimi migi me migi me migi mimi 右耳右目右目右耳 Right ear right eye right eye right ear.
Basu gasu bakuhatsu バスガス爆発 Bus gas explosion.
Tonari no kyaku wa yoku kaki kuu kyaku da となりの客はよく柿食う客だ The guest next door is a guest who eats a lot of persimmons.
Oyagame-no senaka-ni kogame-o nosete,
kogame-no senaka-ni magogame-nosete,
magogame-no senaka-ni himagogame-nosete,
oyagame koketara kogame magogame himagogame koketa
おやがめの背中にこがめをのせて、
こがめの背中にまごがめのせて、
まごがめの背中にひまごがめのせて、
おやがめこけたらこがめまごがめひまごがめこけた。
?
Sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi. 李も桃も桃のうち。 Both plums and peaches are members of the peach family.
Uraniwa ni wa niwa, niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru. 裏庭には二羽庭には二羽鶏がいる。 There are two chickens in the yard, and two in the back yard.
Naga machi no nana magari. Nagai nanamagari. ? ?
Ura no yabu ni dare take tatekaketa? Take tatekaketai kara take tatekaketa. ? ?
Yashi no mi wo shishi ga kui, hishi no mi wo hihi ga kui. ? ?
Nama-mugi nama-gome nama-tamago 生麦生米生卵 Raw wheat, raw rice, raw eggs
Aka-maki-gami, ki-maki-gami, ao-maki-gami 赤巻紙、黄巻紙、青巻紙 Red scroll, yellow scroll and blue scroll
Kaeru pyoko-pyoko, mi pyoko-pyoko, awasete pyoko-pyoko, mu pyoko-pyoko. A frog jumps pyoko-pyokoly(twice), pyoko-pyokoly(three times), and pyoko-pyokoly (six times in all).
Bōzu ga byōbu ni jōzu ni bōzu no e wo kaita 坊主が屏風に上手に坊主の絵を書いた。 The priest skillfully painted a picture of a priest on a screen
Kisha no kisha wa kisha de kisha shita. 貴社の記者は汽車で帰社した。 The news reporter of your company returned by train.

Those wishing to supply translations for the untranslated entries above should contact the FAQ maintainer at the email address at the bottom of this page.


sci.lang.japan FAQ / 11. Word games

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