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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What is the Chinese Currency Called?

The Renminbi 人民币 (rén mín bì) is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China. Often referred to simply as ‘RMB,’ this currency was introduced by the Communist party in 1949 and translates to ‘the People’s Currency.’ To date, the most commonly used RMB banknotes are 0.5, one, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred, though 0.1, 0.2 and two RMB banknotes can be found from time to time. Chinese currency also includes three coins: 0.1, 0.5 and one RMB. For anyone studying, traveling or working in China, remember that banks generally hand out one hundred RMB bills, so it’s normal for servers, shop owners or taxi drivers to help give you change.

Chinese RMB Renminbi

If you’re learning Chinese or follow economics, you may also have heard of the yuán 元 or CNY, which measures an RMB unit. Prior to the Republican era, this word was first used to name the silver Spanish dollar coins that circulated in China during the mercantile age. In the language today, it’s common to say that something costs one or one hundred yuan. Other colloquial terms like 块 (kuài) – think of it like the American ‘buck’ or English ‘quid’ – are used daily. For example, a nice meal out for two may cost 一百块 (yì bǎi kuài) or 一百块钱 (yì bǎi kuài qián).



Do you want to know the current exchange rate? This link will provide you with the current value of 1 US Dollar to Chinese RMB.


 

Vocabulary:

Hànzì pīnyīn Definition
1. 人民币 rén mín bì RMB, China’s official currency
2. yuán CNY, one unit of RMB
3. 一百块 yì bǎi kuài one hundred yuan
4. 一百块钱 yì bǎi kuài qián one hundred yuan (literally. one hundred dollars money)
5. kuài colloquial word for yuan
6. jiǎo 1/10 of one yuan (written use)
7. máo 1/10 of one yuan (colloquial use)
8. fēn 1/100 of one yuan
9. qián money
10. 零钱 líng qián small change
11. 便宜 pián yi cheap
12. guì expensive
13. 现金 xiànjīn cash

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Things to Know About Christmas in China



Christmas has arrived in China and we’re ready to celebrate! Despite not being as popular as traditional Chinese lunar holidays like Mid-Autumn and Spring festival, the storied date of December 25th has come to take on its own special role in the Chinese holiday calendar. Over the past several decades more and more Chinese have converted to Christianity; this is particularly true among younger Chinese generations eager to get a taste of Western culture. Thus, Christmas has received a warm welcome in the Middle Kingdom.

Chinese people dressed for Christmas

During the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, it’s very common for Chinese students of all ages to exchange Christmas cards, wear costumes and get into the holiday spirit. As a unique Christmas Eve tradition, many young couples present each other with red apples, a custom born out of the Mandarin word for Christmas Eve, which sounds similar to the word for apple. Friends and family members might also take advantage of holiday sales and give each other small gifts, some even purchasing faux Christmas trees to adorn their living rooms. If you find yourself in China during Christmas time, keep your eyes peeled for restaurants offering 八宝鸭 (bā bǎo yā, eight treasures duck), duck stuffed with chicken, ham, shrimp and more — a Chinese-style Christmas dinner!



Chinese people dressed as Santa playing Chinese drums

Chinese people dressed for Christmas

(China Photos — Getty Images — Washington Post)




Here’s what else to expect if you’re in China during the Christmas season:

  • servers, salesclerks, and other attendants may be wearing holiday-themed costumes
  • malls, restaurants, and public places will be playing those oh-so-familiar Christmas tunes — learn how to sing ‘jingle bells’ in Chinese
  • shops of all kinds may be holding special sales, selling winter clothes and seasonal products at massive discount prices
  • public squares and walking streets may be decorated with twinkling lights, red streamers, or even decorated Christmas trees
  • some international restaurants, schools or offices may be closed in observance of Christmas

Chinese woman posing with mechanical Santa while older man sits in nearby oversized ornament

(PhotoThe Atlantic)

Electronic Christmas tree shop in China

(Photo by Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera)




Learn to Sing Jingle Bells in Mandarin



Christmas Themed Chinese Flashcards:

Chinese vocabulary flashcards-Christmas
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-Christmas tree
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-white Christmas
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-candy cane
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-gingerbread man
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-gingerbread house
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-stocking
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-reindeer
Chinese vocabulary flashcards-snowman






Additional Christmas Vocabulary:

Hànzì pīnyīn Definition
1. 圣诞节 shèng dàn jié Christmas
2. 圣诞夜 shèngdàn yè Christmas eve
3. 白色圣诞 bái sè shèng dàn White Christmas
4. 圣诞快乐 shèngdàn kuàilè Merry Christmas
5. 圣诞树 shèngdànshù Christmas tree
6. 拐杖糖 guǎizhàng táng candy cane
7. 礼物 lǐ wù gift/present
8. 圣诞袜 shèngdàn wà stocking
9. 圣诞红 shèngdàn hóng Poinsettia
10. 姜饼屋 jiāng bǐng wū gingerbread house
11. 圣诞卡 shèngdànkǎ Christmas card
12. 圣诞老人 shèngdàn lǎorén Santa Claus
13. 雪橇 xuěqiāo sleigh
14. 麋鹿 mílù reindeer
15. 基督教徒 jī dū jiào tú Christian
16. 雪人 xuě rén snowman
17. 姜饼人 jiāng bǐng rén gingerbread man
18. 报佳音 bàojiāyīn caroling





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