Tongue twisters

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

The old tongue twister is in fact better — because it’s more likely to trip you up.

On the genre, from Wikipedia:

A tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value.

What’s crucial here is that a tongue twister is not just alliteration — like the resolutely alliterative Billy Baldwin sentence in the strip — but has word-internal phonological features that are repeated in an irregular way, as in the classic Peter Piper sentence (for details, see Lawrence Schourup’s 1973 Chicago Linguistic Society — CLS 9.587-96 — paper “Unique New York unique New York unique New York”).

On Mother Goose and Grimm:

The strip revolves around a yellow dog named Grimm, owned by an anthropomorphic goose named Mother Goose, along with a dimwitted Boston Terrier named Ralph and a cat named Attila. (link)

In the strip above, that’s Ralph on the left, Grimm on the right.



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