It’s time for another tonguetwister!
Un taxi attaque six taxis.
uh tack-see aa-tack see tack-see. Click below to hear this.
One taxi attacks six taxis.
Sounds like the plot of another end-of-the-world sci-fi thriller: The Day the Taxis Went Mad. I can see it on the big screen, can’t you?
Anyhow, the fun part of this tonguetwister is that the middle part, attaque six, sounds just like the beginning and the end. You might think there are seven taxis (6+1), but in reality there are three (taxi taxi taxi). Or maybe there are seven, or ten (6+1+3), or some other number.
In some parts of Frence, the un at the beginning of the sentence is somewhat denasalized and also “closed” (that is, the mouth closes a bit on the vowel sound, so it sounds more like /aa/ than /uh/. The result of that is two nearly-identical pairs of syllables: aa-tack-see aa-tack-see. And then you may be tripped up by the absence of that extra /aa/ syllable before the third /tack-see/.
This tonguetwister also serves a useful function: to remind you that certain numbers ending in a consonant sound, like deux, cinq, six, and dix, lose that sound when the next word begins with a consonant. So: six animaux (see zaa-nee-mo), but six taxis (see tack-see).
There, I think you know all you need to know about this one, except to steer clear if you see a rogue cab on a crowded street. There could be trouble brewing.
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