Trying to wrap your tongue around a phrase or short poem with repeated sounds is something humans have been doing for centuries -- at least that we know of; the practice probably goes back further than recorded history. We grew up giggling over tongue twisters like "Betty Botter bought a bit of butter" and "she sells sea shells by the sea shore" (and some more sweary variants).
Researchers at MIT now claim that they've conceived the most difficult tongue twister ever: "pad kid poured curd pulled cod." According to the lead researcher, psychologist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, the phrase tripped up test subjects with high frequency -- so much so that the team offered a prize to anyone who could say the phrase 10 times quickly at last week's meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in San Francisco. … Read more