Learning Chinese tongue twisters
(绕口令 ràokǒulìng) makes for great language practice; Learning Chinese tongue twisters with native speakers in real life situations makes it even better. In our new series, CLI’s own ZiCong 老师 ventures through the scenic park pathways and lively downtown sidewalks of Guilin city to interview passersby on some of Mandarin’s trickiest word games. Read on for the Chinese characters, pīnyīn, and English translations of each tongue twister as featured in our video series.
sān shān chēng sì shuǐ，
sì shuǐ rào sān shān，
sān shān sì shuǐ chūn cháng zài，
sì shuǐ sān shān sì shí chūn.
Three mountains support four rivers,
Four rivers twine ‘round three mountains,
Three mountains and four rivers are found in spring,
Four rivers and three mountains are found in spring.
chū qián mén, wǎng zhèng nán，
yǒu ge miàn pù miàn chòng nán，
mén kǒu guà zhe lán bù mián mén lián。
zhāi le tā de lán bù mián mén lián，
miàn pù miàn chòng nán，
gěi tā guà shàng lán bù mián mén lián，
miàn pù hái shì miàn chòng nán.
Out the front door, to the south,
A store face faces south
On the door hangs a blue cloth curtain.
Plucked its blue cloth curtain,
Store face faces south
Give him a blue cloth curtain to hang,
Store face or face south.
nà biān huá lái yì sōu chuán，
zhè biān piāo qù yì zhāng chuáng，
chuán chuáng hé zhōng hù xiāng zhuàng，
bù zhī chuán zhuàng chuáng，
hái shì chuáng zhuàng chuán.
Over there rows a boat,
Over here drifts a bed,
The boat and bed collide with each other,
I don’t know if the boat hit the bed,
Or the bed hit the boat.
We hope that you enjoyed these tongue twisters as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you! Subscribe to the CLI YouTube channel for fresh new videos on Chinese language, culture, and lifestyle.