purple burglar alarm


a Scottish tongue twister

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“There’s a well-known phrase, ‘PURPLE BURGLAR ALARM’, that is notoriously difficult for some Scots to say without tripping over their tongue. And watching some of them try is delightfully entertaining.”

Annie Reneau - Upworthy Culture

Did you
know?

purple burglar alarm
tongue-twister phrase

- a three-word phrase that is difficult for many Scots to accurately pronounce


ORIGIN

This unusual phrase and meme became suddenly popular on social media channels in 2021. It leads us into an interesting investigation of fluency development…


IMPROVE PRONUNCIATION

According to conventional wisdom, the practicing of tongue twisters is a good way to sharpen one’s speech. Try these:

- Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry
- Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock
- She sells seashells by the seashore, She sells seashells by the seashore
- Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie
- Three thousand tricky tongue twisters trip thrillingly off the tongue

When you have mastered these, consider the following test of English excellence…


THE ANNOUNCER’S TEST

An announcer’s test is given to those wanting to become a radio or television announcer - it involves memory, repetition, and perfect pronunciation.

One of the best known tests originated at Radio Central New York in the early 1940s and was given to prospective radio talent to demonstrate their speaking ability and breath control.

Jerry Lewis performed this test on radio, television and stage for many years. It has since become a favourite tongue-twister (and memory challenge) for his fans around the world. Professional announcers would be asked to perform the entire speaking test within a single breath without sounding rushed or out of breath.

Listen to “Jerry Lewis - The Announcer’s Test” on YouTube before you give it a try. Good luck!

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates, with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who all stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

squawking (kreischend), tweezers (Pinzette), array (Anordnung), propensity (Neigung), procrastination (Aufschieben), sloth (Faulheit), denizens (Bewohner), quay (Kai), quivery (zitternd)


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Hey, ask a Scottish friend to say ‘PURPLE BURGLAR ALARM’ clearly and without hesitation.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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