Improve Your Chinese Pronunciation with Tongue Twisters



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.

“三山撑四水”

Chinese Characters:

三山撑四水, 四水绕三山, 三山四水春常在, 四水三山四时春。

pīnyīn:

sān shān chēng sì shuǐ, sì shuǐ rào sān shān, sān shān sì shuǐ chūn cháng zài, sì shuǐ sān shān sì shí chūn.

Literal Meaning:

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.




“蓝布棉门帘”

Chinese Characters:

出前门,往正南, 有个面铺面冲南, 门口挂着蓝布棉门帘。 摘了它的蓝布棉门帘, 面铺面冲南, 给他挂上蓝布棉门帘, 面铺还是面冲南。

pīnyīn:

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.

Literal Meaning:

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.




“船和床”

Chinese Characters:

那边划来一艘船, 这边漂去一张床, 船床河中互相撞, 不知船撞床, 还是床撞船。

pīnyīn:

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.

Literal Meaning:

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.





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