October 04, 2002

Vaara, world-renowned linguist, admitted ümlaut lover, and former author of the late, great weblog Silt, checks in with the Review today, providing a link to “Finnish Tongue Twisters,” a phrase I would have thought was redundant.

A personal favorite: “Kokko, kokoo koko kokko kokoon!” “Koko kokkoko?” “Koko kokko.” It means: “Kokko, gather up the whole Midsummer fire!” “The whole fire?” “The whole fire.” (Kokko is a person’s name. Midsummer is a holiday.)

And this: järjestelmällistämättömyydelläänsäkäänköhän (43 letters), which is said to be the longest word in the Finnish language, although epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkään (also 43 letters), is reportedly cited by The Guinness Book of World Records, so I guess it’s some sort of linguistically psychotic tie.

And this: Saippuakippokukkakivikakkukoppikauppias, which must be the world’s longest single-word palindrome.

The home page of the site where these were found -- The First International Collection of Tongue Twisters -- also links to “Dutch Tongue Twisters,” another redundancy, I think, and to similar challenges in some 90 languages, including 18 different tongue twisters in Esperanto.

You know, you really can find anything on the web.

[Note: This article was published earlier today in a slightly different form at The Rittenhouse Review.]


Post a Comment