Apelle figlio di Apollo

Main piece:

“Apelle figlio di Apollo fece una palla di pelle di pollo tutti i pesci vennero a galla per mangiare la palla di pelle di pollo fatta da Apelle figlio di Apollo”

Apelle son of Apollo made a ball of chicken’s skin. All the fishes came to the surface to eat the ball of chicken’s skin made by Apelle son of Apollo

[there is no real translation as also in Italian there isn’t a deeper sense expressed by the words, which have, as main purpose, the one of being musically rhythmic and twist your tongue]


L.L.: I remember when I was at school and there were literally contests between children [laughs]. Like during the break we would meet in the corridors and challenge each other on who was the best at performing tongue-twisters. And like, if you were faster or better at telling them, you would feel superior…you would feel super smart. Oh and, not to mention when you learnt a new one that your classmates didn’t know and so you got to teach them. That was a real satisfaction [laughs]


My informant performed this tongue-twister over a dinner, in which other friends were present, and, after the performance of the piece, we all started to practice other tongue-twister we learnt when younger


Tongue-twisters surely are a fundamental piece of folk-speech, which is performed by children as well as adults. Usually they are learnt in young years of age, when, as my informant explains, they represent a sort of ‘exposition of intelligence’. 

In the case of Apelle figlio di Apollo, in fact, Italian kids would battle each other on who was the best at telling it, and, consequently, he or she would gain a feeling of supremacy on the other peers. 

Tongue-twisters as well are, therefore, definable as one of the many forms of rite of passage children use both to approach adulthood and to gain some sort of power inside of their social group.