Chinese song: The Little Swallow (Elementary)

小燕子(Xiǎo yànzi): The Little Swallow


Xiǎo yànzi, chuān huā yī,
小     燕子,穿      花 衣,
The little swallow, brightly dressed,

Niánnian chūntiān lái zhèlǐ.
年年          春天     来 这里。
Comes every spring to visit us.

Wǒ wèn yànzi nǐ wèishá lái?
我    问   燕子 你  为啥  来?
I ask the swallow: “Why do you come here?”

Yànzi shuō: “Zhèlǐ de chūntiān zuì měilì!”
燕子   说:  ”这里 的   春天     最  美丽!”
She replies: “Spring is the most beautiful here!”

Xiǎo yànzi, gàosu nǐ,
小     燕子,告诉 你,
Little swallow, let me tell you,

Jīnnián zhèlǐ gèng měilì,
今年     这里  更   美丽,
This year things here are prettier still,

Wǒmen gài qǐ le dà gōngchǎng,
我们       盖 起了 大   工厂,
We’ve built large factories,

Zhuāng shàng le xīn jīqì.
装             上   了 新机器。
With new machines.

Huānyíng nǐ,
欢迎         你,

Chángqī zhù zài zhèlǐ.
长期        住  在  这里。
And please stay for a long time.

Did you enjoy the song? For decades, kids in China have been singing “The Little Swallow.” Written in the 1950s, nowadays some themes in the song are outdated. Today, big factories and machines aren’t always a point of pride in society. In fact these modern advancements often symbolize pollution and noise…hardly a place fit for a swallow to roost. That being said, it is a beautiful song, which speaks of a younger and growing China — and kids love it.

In the lyrics, almost every line ends in the rhyme “i.” For example, 衣 (yī), 里 (lǐ), 丽 (lì), 你 (nǐ) and 器 (qì). Let’s learn a few of these words.

Chinese words:

1. 燕子 (yànzi) swallow


Yànzi de wěiba xiàng jiǎndāo.
燕子   的 尾巴   像      剪刀。
The swallow’s tail is like a pair of scissors.

2. 衣 () clothes

We always put 服 (fu) or 裳 (shang) directly after 衣(yī); but the meaning remains the same.


Tā de yīfu hěn hǎokàn.
她  的衣服 很    好看。
Her clothes are beautiful.

 3. 美丽 (měilì) beautiful


Tā yǒu yìshuāng měilì de dà yǎnjing.
她  有     一双     美丽 的  大   眼睛。
She has big, beautiful eyes.

4. 你 () you


Nǐ shì wǒ de péngyou.
你 是  我  的   朋友。
You are my friend.


1. Please choose the word that doesn’t rhyme with the other two.____
A. 我 (wǒ)
B. 你 (nǐ)
C. 里 (lǐ)

2. Which one doesn’t mean “clothes?”____
A. 衣服 (yīfu)
B. 衣裳 (yīshang)
C. 美丽 (měilì)

You may be interested in more Chinese songs:
数鸭子Counting Ducks
上学歌 On the Way to School
小白兔乖乖 Little Rabbit

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