MIT Researchers Reveal The World's Toughest Tongue Twister!

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According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the toughest tongue twister is 'The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.' However, if researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are to be believed, there may be a new contender for that coveted spot.

Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel and her team assert that 'pad kid poured curd pulled cold' is the toughest tongue twister that has ever been concocted. In fact, it is so difficult that when people were asked to repeat it rapidly ten times, they became so tongue-tied that they stopped speaking altogether. The twister revealed at the Fall Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America that was held in San Francisco from December 2nd-6th, was part of a study conducted by Stefanie's team to get some insight into the human brain's speech planning process.

The researcher says that for some reason, when certain words are spoken together quickly, people seem to lose control, and more often than not, the one sound seems to replace the other. For example, try saying toy boat fast a few times, and you will soon start pronouncing the words as 'toy boyt'! Similarly, 'top cop' seems to rapidly turn into 'cop cop!'

How the brain processes each tongue twister also seems to depend on if it comprises of a few words or is a full sentence. In the former case, the tongue often ends up saying just the first letter of the first word-like tkop instead 'top cop,' while in the case of the latter, it sounds like 'tah-kop.' While not sure, they believe it may have something to do with the regular rhythm of a word list as compared to the somewhat irregular timing of a sentence.

The MIT team plan to continue their research by placing tiny transducers on the tongues of volunteers and measuring their articulation to try to gain further insight. Meanwhile, we can all drive people around us a little crazy by continually repeating a phrase that even the researchers agree makes no sense.

'pad kid poured curd pulled cold'

Resources: Huffingtonpost.com, dailymail.co.uk

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587 Comments
  • annafantastic
    annafantasticThursday, June 25, 2020 at 5:54 am
    I tried many times and it is VERY hard!
    • bookfan2008
      bookfan2008Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 7:57 pm
      That's hard! But fun to say!
      • animereina2020
        animereina2020Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 7:53 pm
        I wuv tongue twisters!!!! During quarantine, you can do a tongue twister fun time with your family, and save the hardest for last!
        • sydisawesome123
          sydisawesome123Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 6:12 am
          Very challenging tongue-twister, but fun to do with friends and others.. It was a fun activitie while stuck in quarintine!
          • drbubz
            drbubzFriday, January 31, 2020 at 7:28 am
            Try my improvement. The Sick sixth sheiks sick sixth sheeps sixth sense sheds seven sheared sweaters since seven sick sheppards sheared six sick sheeps silence spread sweet sleep songs soundly sweeps slowly surrounding slumbering sleeping sick six sheiks so some speak
            • BananazSaturday, November 9, 2019 at 11:51 am
              Agreed! The sixth sick sheik was way harder. They were all hard, but that took the cake. I am able to do all of them at least 3 times super fast except for the sixth one, and I'm an actor and I've been doing these for 12 years, five times every day, and still can't do sixth one.
              • GuccizBudWednesday, June 5, 2019 at 2:03 pm
                Don't know about anyone else, but I'm k absolutely astounded that "pad kid poured curd pulled cold" is supposed to not only be harder than "the sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" but the hardest ever, because, while I find the latter to be VERY difficult to say even once (at speed, not slowly), I find the former to not be difficult **at all**. So... am I the only one? Enquiring minds want to know.
                • VenuTuesday, May 28, 2019 at 7:53 pm
                  Sixth sheep for me was beautiful
                  • oofMonday, May 20, 2019 at 9:03 am
                    not that good
                    • JimThursday, April 4, 2019 at 7:15 am
                      Harder than "toy boat"? I've never once managed to say that ten times quickly.