Bilingual is Better

Do you love trabalenguas? I do, but it never really occurred to me that tongue twisters are a great tool to reinforce my kids’ Spanish. I mean, I’ve recited a couple of my favorite here and there, but I hadn’t taken the time to formally introduce Vanessa to them til this weekend.

About four weeks ago, my family and I went to San Diego for my stepson’s graduation from the Marines. Although we were only there for a long weekend, we decided to take a trip south of the border into Tijuana. Besides having a great time with really good friends, we brought back home a lot of goodies, including tons of Mexican candy and, most importantly, several children’s books and other reading materials in Spanish — but we hadn’t had a chance to go through it all just yet.

Since we wanted to escape the frigid temperatures brought about by our first snow storm, we spent a lot of time indoors this weekend. At some point, Vanessa brought me of Muy Interesante Junior, one of the kid’s magazine we bought in Tijuana and together we started going through it. Nothing caught her attention much until we got to a page titled “El destrabalenguario” by journalist Eduardo Limón and as we started reading about tongue twisters and the story behind the three examples included in the article.

This was a great opportunity for me to talk to Vanessa about trabalenguas and to teach her some of my favorite ones. And she loved them all! Coincidentally, one of the children’s books we also got in that trip to Mexico was one titled Trabalenguas para todos by María Tellez (the one Vanessa’s holding in the photo you see here), but we hadn’t even opened it (in Latin America, books are sold wrapped in cellophane). Since Vanessa showed so much interest, I figured it’d be a great time to introduce her to even more trabalenguas and I was so happy to see she was totally hooked!

She walked around with the book most of Sunday afternoon, sharing some of the trabalenguas she discovered with whomever would listen and trying to recite the ones she had memorized as fast as possible. Since we had so much fun with them, I thought I’d share her favorite ones (so far) with you so maybe you can teach them to your bilingual kids and burst out laughing too!

From Muy Interesante Junior:

Si yo como como como y tú comes como comes

¿Cómo comes como como? Si yo como como como.

From Trabalenguas para todos:

Si Pancha plancha con cuatro planchas,

¿con cuántas planchas plancha Pancha?

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Cuando cuentes cuentos

cuenta cuántos cuentos cuentas

porque cuando cuentas cuentos

nunca cuentas cuántos cuentos cuentas.

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Ñoño Yáñez come ñame

en las mañanas con el niño.

Besides being super fun and challenging for anyone regardless of their fluency in Spanish, trabalenguas are a great way to practice pronunciation. Next time, I’ll share some of the ones I’ll be adding to the repertoire of exercises I’ve been using to help Vanessa in one of her problem areas: rolling her R’s.

Do you have a favorite trabalenguas you’d like to share with us?

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