In English, it is well known that by repeating the word it is possible to form a perfect grammatical sentence buffalo (and now and then the place names buffalo) a total of eight times: Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Essentially means “Buffalo, New York buffalo who intimidate other Buffalo, New York buffalo are themselves intimidated by Buffalo, New York buffalo.” But repetitive or so-called antanaclastic sentences and tongue twisters like these are by no means unique to English – here are some in other languages you might want to try.
1. “The green worm is walking towards the green glass.”
; // French
This set works less well in print than Buffalo buffaloOf course, but when you read it, it’s anything but impenetrable. In French, The green worm goes to the green jar means “the green worm goes towards the green glass” but the words see (Worm), vert (Green), across from (Direction) and Glass (Glass) are all homophones pronounced as “vair” with a vowel similar to that E. in “bet” or “pet”. Indeed, the French heraldic word for squirrel fur, work vair, in there somewhere and you’d have five completely different interpretations of the same sound to deal with.
2. “With the fact that it is because I love you.” // Default
It is that can be interpreted as a verb (“I go”), an adverb (“there”, “for this reason”), and an ablative pronoun (“with him” or “from him”) in Latin, each with a range of different shades of meaning . Put four of them in a row in context I love him that with him, him, him, him,and you will have a phrase that means, “I am going there with him because I love him.”
3. “Little little little little.” // Latin
An even more confusing Latin phrase is little little little. Alone, little can be a verb (which means “I prefer” or “I would rather”); an ablative form of the Latin word for an apple tree, Malus (means “in an apple tree”); and two completely different forms (essentially “a bad man” and “in trouble” or “in adversity”) of the adjective Maluswhich means bad or bad. Although the lengths of the vowels differ slightly as you read aloud, put everything together and little little little could be interpreted as “I would rather be in an apple tree than an evil man in need.” (Assuming the noun Malus can also be used to mean “the mast of a ship”. However, this phrase could just as easily be interpreted as “I would rather be a bad man in an apple tree than a ship’s mast.”)
4. “Father sheep sheep sheep?” // Danish
Far (pronounced “fah”) is the Danish word for fatherwhile can (pronounced like “for”) can be used both as a noun for “sheep” and as a form of the Danish verb to getmeans “have”. Father, do sheep get sheep? ultimately means “Father, do sheep have sheep?” – what the answer might come to, Sheep sheep not sheep, sheep sheep lambswhich means “Sheep have no sheep, sheep have lambs.”
5. “Eeee ee ee.” // Manx
Manx is the Isle of Man’s Celtic language of origin, which is closely linked to Irish. In Manx, ee is both a pronoun (“she” or “it”) and a verb (“essen”), which is a future tense eeee (“will eat”). Eight letters Es in a row can ultimately be split up to mean she will eat it.
6. “How how? How how how how how! ” // Spanish
How can be a preposition (“like”, “like”), an adverb (“like”, “like”), a conjunction (“like”) and a verb (a form of) corner, “Essen”) in Spanish, which allows dialogues to be strung together as follows: How how? How how how how how! What does “How do I eat? I eat how I eat! “
7. “Á á á á á á á.” // Icelandic
A is the Icelandic word for flow;; a form of the Icelandic word for Ewe, ær;; a preposition that essentially means “on” or “in”; and a derivative of the Icelandic verb Eigawhich means “have” or “own”. Should a person named River stand next to a river and at the same time own a sheep that stands in or on the same river, this situation could theoretically be described with the sentence Wing wing wing wing in Icelandic.
8. “May May May May May May.” // Thai
Thai is a tonal language that uses five different tones or pronunciation patterns (rising, falling, high, low, and medium, or flat) to distinguish between the meanings of otherwise seemingly identical syllables and words: glaiFor example, Thai can mean both “near” and “far” depending on the tone pattern. Likewise, the Thai equivalent of the phrase “New wood doesn’t burn, does it?” is more more more more more– which may appear identical when written down, but each syllable would have a different tone when read aloud.
9. “The lion-eating poet in the stone cave.” // Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese is another tonal language, the nuances of which were taken to extreme levels by Yuen Ren Chao, a Chinese-born American linguist and writer known for composing a bizarre poem called “The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Cave” were. When the poem is written in its classical Chinese script, it appears as a series of different characters. But when translated into the Roman alphabet, each of these characters is nothing but the syllable shi::
Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shi shi, shi Shi Shi shi shi.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shi shi shi.
The only difference between each syllable is their intonation, which can either be flat (shī), increasing (shí), fall (shì) or fall and rise (shǐ); You can hear the entire poem read aloud along with its English translation here.