6 Steps to Master Tagalog Tongue Twisters (with Audio Examples)

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Learn how to become a master of easy, medium and hard Filipino (Tagalog) tongue twisters with these 6 simple steps.

If you’re just starting to learn Tagalog, then you probably think that every sentence is a tongue twister (LOL!), but keep reading and you’ll see phrases that give your tongue cramps by just looking at them. 

Don’t worry (take a deep breath), by the end of this article you’ll have everything you need to become a master Tagalog tongue twister teller ;). And soon enough you will not only be impressing your friends, but rattling off one of these to one of your Pinoy (filipino native) friends in jaw dropping fashion.

6 Steps to Master Tagalog Tongue Twisters

No matter what language you’re learning tongue twisters in, follow these tips to master them with ease.

  1. Start Slow… V-e-r-y S-l-o-w, Then Speed Up: As you get the tongue twister down by slowly speaking it, begin to speed it  up to the point where you start making mistakes. Then dial it back a bit and focus on getting it right at that speed and then try going faster again.
  2. Over-Enunciate the Sounds: As you begin practicing slowly, be sure to over-enunciate the sounds in the words. Especially the sounds at the beginning and end of the words, because that’s where most tongue twisters trip people up.
  3. Enjoy the Mistakes, Laugh a Lot! Tongue twisters are meant to be fun, so don’t let yourself get frustrated when mistakes happen. Be sure to smile when saying your tongue twister and laugh off the blunders.
  4. Divide and Conquer: For longer tongue twisters, break them up into smaller sections (as small as 2-3 words). Get one section down before moving onto the next. You’ll know you’ve got it down when you can say it 5-10 times in a row without putting your tongue in a knot.
  5. Consistency Is Key: Which do you think is more effective: Practicing for 10 minutes a day, or practicing for an hour once a week? … 10 minutes a day is by far the winner. In fact, this goes for anything you’re trying to master: Daily baby-steps to success. 
  6. Practice in Your Native Language Too: Saying tongue twisters is a skill, so mastering a tongue twister in your native language will also help you in any other language you’re trying to learn them in. 

On that note, these are purportedly two of the toughest tongue twisters you can learn in English:

  • The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.
  • Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.

The record keepers at Guinness Book say that the first one is the toughest, while the brains at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) say the second is. Personally I think the first one is harder to do. Let me know in the comments which one you think is. 

Now let’s get started with Tagalog tongue twisters. We will give some examples from easy to hard in this article , plus we’ll include links to more tongue twisters than you can handle.

Easy 1 & 2 Word Filipino (Tagalog) Tongue Twisters

Let’s start easy and work our way up, shall we? After scouring the internet I found that there are lots of single words that twist up a lot of tongues and  I also found a couple of two word Tagalog tongue twisters that are great for beginners. 

One Word Tongue Twisters

Nakakapagpabagabag (Worrisome)

^ Nakakapagpabagabag (Worrisome)

Kumukutikutitap (Twinkling)

^ Kumukutikutitap (Twinkling)

Kagilagilalas (Astounding)

^ Kagilagilalas (Astounding)

Kumakalabukab (Croaking)

^ Kumakalabukab (Croaking)

Two Word Tongue Twisters

These are deceptively simple with just two words repeated over and over. I say deceptively because even I have a hard time saying them, and I’m a native Filipino Tagalog speaker!  Kudos to to anyone with the tongue dexterity who can repeat these more than 10 times at lightning speed without making a mistake. 

Pasko, Paksiw (Christmas, Cooked in Vinegar)

^ Pasko, Paksiw (Christmas, Cooked in Vinegar)

I don’t think anyone has wished for a Christmas cooked in vinegar, but paksiw is actually a Filipino cooked fish with vinegar and other seasonings. Repeat it over and over up to ten times without making a mistake and see how fast you can go. 

Buwaya, Bayawak (Crocodile, Lizard)

^ Buwaya, Bayawak (Crocodile, Lizard)

This is a great tongue twister for anyone who has a reptile feddish, but then again maybe it’ll help overcome phobias too.

Remember to Laugh

So, how’s it going? Did you have a hard time with those and are feeling a little frustrated? If so, watch these clips of people tripping up on Filipino tongue twisters before moving on. Sometimes watching others’ mistakes helps us work through our own.

Remember to smile and laugh a lot as you keep up the practice. Soon enough you’ll get it!
Now let’s move on to the harder ones!

Medium Tongue Twisters in Tagalog (Filipino)

Ang relo ni Leroy ay rolex. (Leroy’s watch is a Rolex..)

^ Ang relo ni Leroy ay rolex. (Leroy’s watch is a Rolex..)

Bababa ba? Oo, bababa! (Is it going down? Yes, going down!)

^ Bababa ba? Oo, bababa! (Is it going down? Yes, going down!)

Hard Tongue Twisters in Filipino (Tagalog)

Palakang Kabkab, kumakalabukab, kaka-kalabukab pa lamang, kumakalabukab na naman.
“A Kabkab Frog, croaking, it was just croaking, now it’s croaking again.”

^ Palakang Kabkab, kumakalabukab, kaka-kalabukab pa lamang, kumakalabukab na naman.

Grab This Before You Go!

Full disclosure: I’m not any good when it comes to Tagalog tongue twisters. Forget rapping or slam poetry, be it in English or Tagalog (Filipino)… I’m a lost cause. Or, as a friend might say: it’s an opportunity for improvement 😉 There’s no better way to improve than practice. So like I mentioned at the beginning… Below are a whole lot more tantalizing Tagalog tongue twisters to try… so let’s get to it!

Resource List

Click on them to access:

Marie Gutierrez

Filipino (Tagalog) is my native language, but with more than 15 years experience writing professionally in English, I am uniquely qualified to flex my semicolons to help others learn this magnificent language and let you in on cultural insights that you won't get anywhere else.

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