Can you conquer the hardest tongue twister ever created?
Psychologists say their nonsensical phrase left volunteers completely baffled, with very few able to say it 10 times
Goodbye 'she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore', hello 'pad kid poured curd pulled cold' - quite possibly the hardest tongue twister ever created.
Although the phrase makes little sense, it was able to completely defeat volunteers taking part in a US speech study, researchers said.
Asked to repeat the phrase 10 times at speed, many of the participants simply stopped speaking altogether, according to lead researcher Dr Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston.
“If anyone can say this 10 times quickly, they get a prize,” she said.
The study was conducted to shed light on the brain's speech-planning processes. “When things go wrong, that can tell you something about how the typical, error-free operation should go,” said Dr Shattuck-Hufnagel.
Spoken too quickly, certain combinations of sounds appear to make people lose control of their mouths, with one sound often replacing another. For example, 'toy boat' becomes 'toy boyt', and 'top cop' becomes 'cop cop'.
Mistakes can also be more subtle the researchers found, with some of the time, tongue twister mix-ups appearing to be something in between the two sounds.
In the 'top cop' example, sometimes the 't' and 'c' seemed to be spoken almost the same time so that some of the word was lost, to become 't'kop'. Sometimes there was a delay between the two sounds with space for a vowel ('tah-kop').
The scientists studied two categories of tongue twister, simple lists of paired words, and whole sentences. Two word tongue twisters caused more 't'kop' type errors, while sentences produced more 'tah-kop' mistakes that included a short vowel after the initial consonant.
One possible clue to what is happening may be the regular rhythm of the word lists compared with the more irregular timing of the sentences, said Dr Shattuck-Hufnagel. But there appeared to be some overlap in the processes used to produce both types of speech.
The next stage of the research, data for which has already been collected, involved the MIT team and colleagues in Germany, placing tiny transducers on volunteers' tongues to measure their articulation.
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
- 5 Mystery sea creature - with 'fur' and 'a beak' - washes up on remote Russian beach, baffling scientists
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner divorce: Memorable quotes from one of Hollywood's most scrutinised couples
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...
£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...