Rào kǒu lìng 绕口令 or Chinese tongue twisters are a great way to improve your Chinese pronunciation. It will not only help you pronounce words correctly, but it will also help you understand what is being said, expand your vocabulary, and help you master Chinese tones.
These tongue twisters are famous in China, and hearing how the words should be said and trying to pronounce the tongue twisters yourself is a good way to improve the way you pronounce Chinese words.
Learning a couple of Chinese tongue twisters is also an icebreaker in China. Telling the tongue twister to your Chinese friends or colleagues will surprise them and bring some humor when you communicate with them.
Showing you are willing to learn and know Chinese culture makes a good impression and builds trust.
In this article, we present 10 of the most popular tongue twisters in China
1 Fěnfènghuáng 粉凤凰 The Red Phoenix
Hóng fènghuáng huáng fènghuáng fěnhóng fènghuáng fěn fènghuáng fēi.
There was a red phoenix, a yellow phoenix, and a pink phoenix. The pink phoenix flew away.
2 Lǎo Táng duān dàntāng 老唐端蛋汤 Old Man Tang Served Egg Soup
Lǎo Táng duān dàntāng, tà dèng dēng bǎotǎ, zhī yīn dèng tài huá, tāng sǎ tāng tàng tǎ.
老唐端蛋汤, 踏凳登宝塔, 只因凳太滑, 汤洒汤烫塔。
Old Man Tang served egg soup and stepped on a stool to climb the pagoda. The soup spilt because the stool was too slippery, and the soup burned the pagoda.
3 Sìshí yǔ shísì 四十与十四 40 and 14
Sìshí shì sìshí, sìshí búshì shísì, shísì búshì sìshí, shísì shì shísì.
Forty is forty, forty is not fourteen, fourteen is not forty, and fourteen is fourteen.
4 Chī pútáo 吃葡萄 Eating grapes
Chī pútáo, tǔ pútáo píér.
Bù chī pútáo, bù tǔ pútáo píér.
Chī pútáo, bù tǔ pútáo pí ér.
bù chī pútáo, dào tǔ pútáo pí ér.
Eat grapes and spit out their skins.
Don’t eat grapes, and don’t spit out their skins.
Eat grapes, don’t spit out their skins,
Don’t eat grapes, yet spitting out their skins.
5 Sūzhōu yǒu gè Sū húzi 苏州有个苏胡子 A bearded man with the last name Su lives in the city of Suzhou
Sūzhōu yǒu gè Sū húzi.
Húzhōu yǒu gè Hú húzi。
Sūzhōu Sū húzi jiā lǐ yǒu gè hú shūzi.
Súzhōu de Hú húzi xiàng Sūzhōu de Sū húzi jiè shūzi shū húzi。
A bearded man with the last name Su lives in the city of Suzhou.
And there is a bearded man named Hu who lives in the city of Huzhou.
Su, who lives in Suzhou, has a beard comb at home.
The bearded man Hu from Huzhou borrows a beard comb from the bearded man Su from Suzhou.
6 Zào fángzi 造房子 Building a house
Jiǎn kē xiǎo shízǐ,
zài dìshàng huà gè fānggézǐ,
huàhǎole gézi zào fángzi,
huà gè dàfāng gézǐ zào gè dà fángzǐ,
huà gè dàfāng gézǐ zào gè dà fángzǐ,
lóushàng de fángzi fēngěi gēzi,
lóu xià de fángzi fēngěi xiǎo tùzǐ。
I grabbed a small rock,
on the ground, I drew a square,
built a house, drew a square,
built a big house, drew a big square,
drew a small house, then built it.
The pigeons were given top floor of the house.
The rabbits were given the ground floor of the house.
7 Gē kuà guā kuāng guò kuān gōu 哥挎瓜筐过宽沟 The elder brother crossed the wide moat
Gē kuà guā kuāng guò kuān gōu, gē kuà guā kuāng guò kuān gōu, gǎnkuài guò gōu kàn guài gǒu。
Guāng kàn guài gǒu guā kuāng kòu，guā gǔn kuāng kòu gē guài gǒu。
The elder brother, holding a basket for melon, was crossing a moat. The elder brother, holding a basket for melon, crosses the wide moat and hurries across the wide moat to watch the strange dog.
While only looking at the strange dog, the melon basket overturned, the melon rolled, the basket overturned, and the elder brother blamed the dog.
8 Bā bǎi biāobīng 八百标兵 Eight Hundred Parade Guards
Bā bǎi biāobīng bèn běipō,
pàobīng bìngpái běibian pǎo.
Pàobīng pà bǎ biāobīng pèng,
biāobīng pà pèng pàobīng pào.
Eight hundred parade guards are running towards the slope in the north,
Artillerymen are running with them on the north side.
Artillerymen are afraid of touching the parade guards,
And the parade guards are so scared of touching the artillerymen’s cannons.
9 Lí yǔ ní 梨与泥 The Pear and the Mud
Shù shàng yǒu lí, dì shàng yǒu ní.
Fēng guā lí，lí luò dì。
lí gǔn ní, ní zhān lí.
On the top of the tree, there is a pear. On the ground, there is mud,
The wind blows at the pear, and the pear falls to the ground,
The pears roll on the mud, and the mud sticks to the pear.
10 Niǎo yǔ māo 鸟与猫 The Bird and the Cat
Shù shang yì zhī niǎo, dì shang yì zhī māo.
dì shang de māo xiǎng yǎo shù shang de niǎo, shù shang de niǎo xiǎng zhuó māo de máo.
The bird in the tree, and the cat on the ground
The cat on the ground wants to bite the bird in the tree. And the bird in the tree wants to peck at the cat’s hair.
Learn more Chinese at the Chinese Summer Camp 2022
We at LC Chinese School are hosting a Summer Camp Program, tailored and designed to the needs of young students. With the LC Chinese School, Summer Camp Program students will study the language for 2 hours a day Monday to Friday, followed by a 1.5-hour Fun Class.
The LC Chinese School Summer Camp Program is open for children from 7 to 17 years of age
The program’s goal is to assist them in learning the language so that they can communicate in Chinese in everyday situations. In the program we emphasize language development through the study of grammar and vocabulary, as well as engaging in fun activities. You can read more about the Summer Camp 2022 here.
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