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Friday, July 12, 2024

Spanish Tongue Twisters for Costa Rica Travelers and Expats

In my last article I provided both travelers and expats with a couple of skills for learning survival Spanish.

Tongue twisters (or trabalenguas) are phrases that use repetitive sounds and are found in many languages. They can be very amusing for children and adults alike. But did you know that tongue twisters can also help:

  • Improve your pronunciation
  • Spanish accent
  • Stimulate memory, focus and concentration
  • Increase your speech speed
  • Improve your listening and comprehension
  • Help you speak with precision and few mistakes

Since tongue twisters each have a certain pattern, they can help you practice your oral skills by honing in on one certain sound (and sometimes two or three sounds).

For example, the famous “she sells seashells by the seashore” focuses on the “sh” and “s” sounds. Whether you are looking for simple Spanish tongue twisters for kids or more advanced trabalenguas for adult learners, there’s just the right tongue twister for anyone.

You will also find tongue twisters for novice to advanced students and even specific tongue twisters to practice certain parts of Spanish, like rolling your RRs.

Many of these are famous Spanish tongue twisters, known throughout the Spanish speaking world however there are others here that are specific to certain countries or regions.

Here are few of the most popular tongue twisters to keep you busy:

  1. Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal.
    This tongue twister focuses on the “tr” sound. The “r” sound is pretty difficult for new Spanish speakers – and even more difficult is the “rr” sound. Try your best to say this tongue twister yourself first, then listen to the audio to see if you got it right.
  2. Un perro rompe la rama del árbol.
    This tongue twister focuses on the hard “r” sound (same as the “rr” sound). The hard “r” sound seems to be difficult for almost all non-native Spanish speakers. With practice you’ll be able to roll your “r” sounds — just be patient.
  3. Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril. Rápido corren los carros, detrás del ferrocarril.
  4. Como poco coco como, poco coco compro.
  5. Pablito clavó un clavito en la calva de un calvito. En la calva de un calvito un clavito clavó Pablito.

About Chris Howard

Christopher Howard Costa Rica’s foremost relocation expert and has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours to Costa Rica for over 30 years. See He is also the author of the one- of-a-kind bestselling, New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica — the official guide to relocation and “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that may be purchased through or

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