Cinq chiens chassent six chats.

Cinq chiens chassent six chats.

saa sheeYAA shahss SEE shah. Click below to hear the audio file!

Five dogs are chasing six cats.

Tonguetwister Tuesday is back! This is one of those sentences that you should say several times in a row. Unless you stop and breathe between iterations, I’m willing to bet that even the second time through will trip you up!

No puns here, just pronunciation that is a bit tricky. First, there’s the s/ch switcheroo. The numbers start with the /s/ sound, while the animals start with the /ch/ sound (/sh/ in English).And the verb in the middle matches the animals.

Secondly–and this is also tricky–you also get the /s/ at the end of chassent bumping up against the /s/ at the beginning of six. You have to pronounce both of them; you can’t just run them together as a single /s/. And this will take practice. There’s a tiny stutter at that spot; listen carefully for it in the audio file. It’s not a separate syllable, it’s not a silence. It’s more like a minuscule dip in the volume of your breath.

Of course, if you slow the whole sentence down, you get to pronounce that extra syllable. But it’s worthwhile trying to speed it up and master this little trick. It will make you sound so much more French!

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