Lips of Babel: Models recite tongue-twisters in their native tongues

Nadine Bells
Good News
April 6, 2012

Photographer Elle Muliarchyk grew up speaking a handful of languages. Raised by a diplomat father and journalist mother, her childhood took her from Belarus to Vietnam, the Czech Republic, and the U.S. A brief international modelling career led to her picking up French and Italian.

"I speak five languages and understand even more," she told Motilo Girls.

These loves of language and fashion led Muliarchyk to create the mesmerizing "Lips of Babel," close-ups of models reciting tongue-twisters in their native tongues.

"Tongue twisters are something we all have from childhood," Muliarchyk says.

So far, Muliarchyk has captured over 50 models delivering tongue-twisters. Watch a segment of her project below.

The fun phrases often say a lot about their culture of origin, Muliarchyk tells the New York Times' T Magazine blog.

For example, the Nigerian one translates as "Lady Seamstress, why are you so sad? Did a hen lay an egg on the dress you just made?"

One from India says, "A husband slapped his wife for no apparent reason."

The Polish twister translates as "The frogs creak in Rzeszowszczyznie in the rain and can be heard all the way to Ustrzyk, earth worms wiggle in Kurpiowszczyznie and in the jungle the owl squeaks."

The Lithuanian one? "A bowl floats in a pond, a bit of foam floats in the bowl."

The entire list of tongue-twisters is found at Motilo Girls.

What tongue-twister do you associate with your childhood?