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Try These Tongue Twisters to Loosen up Your Tongue.

Dec. 28, 2021

Tongue twisters are a kind of language art, an art which can greatly help develop children’s language and thinking!

Tongue twisters also give children the chance to exercise their eloquence, memory, and reaction abilities. Not only are tongue twisters different than how many students are used to learning, but they also allow children to relax and just have fun with the language.

Of course, there’s the added bonus for parents as we watch our children contort their mouths, teeth, and tongue trying to figure out how best to say the tongue twister – and their laughs and joy when they’re successful! Recently, tongue twisters have been making a comeback as another tool in the toolbox for learning Chinese, how about you give some a try?

HSK 3 quiz

Today we’ll start with a few simple tongue twisters. These can help children (and adults!) distinguish between some similar Mandarin pronunciations that we sometimes find difficult when learning. Even if you have some trouble at first, just remember: even native speakers’ tongues get twisted when they try these!

1. 吃葡萄 (chī pútáo) – Eating Grapes

Chī   pútáo  bù    tǔ   pútáo   pí’ér.
吃     葡萄    不    吐    葡萄    皮儿
Eat grapes without spitting out grape skins.

Bù chī pútáo dào tǔ pútáo pí’ér.
不   吃   葡萄  倒  吐  葡萄  皮儿
Do not eat grapes and spit out grape skins.

HSK 3 quiz

2. 数枣儿 (shǔ zǎo’er) – Counting Jujubes
Chū  dōngmén   guò  dàqiáo,
出       东门      过    大桥,
Dàqiáo  dǐ  xià    yī  shù  zǎo’ér.
大桥    底   下   一   树    枣儿。
Ná zhe    gānzǐ    qù  dǎ  zǎo’ér.
拿 着       竿子     去   打    枣儿。
Qīng de duō hóng de shǎo.
青     的   多   红    的     少。
Yí  gè  zǎo’ér、liǎng gè zǎo’ér
一   个  枣儿、    两   个  枣儿
Sān  gè  zǎo’ér、sì  gè zǎo’ér
三   个   枣儿、  四  个   枣儿
Wǔ  gè  zǎo’ér、liù  gè zǎo’ér
五   个   枣儿、 六  个   枣儿
Qī  gè  zǎo’ér、bā  gè zǎo’ér
七   个   枣儿、八   个   枣儿
Jiǔ   gè zǎo’ér、shí  gè zǎo’ér
九    个   枣儿、十  个   枣儿
Zhè   shì   yí gè   ràokǒulìng,
这      是     一 个     绕口令,
Yī  qì  shuō  wán  cái  suàn  hǎo.
一  气   说     完    才    算    好。

Go out the east gate and cross the bridge;
there’s a jujube tree under the bridge;
take the pole to strike the jujube;
many green ones, few red ones;
one jujube, two jujubes;
three jujubes, four jujubes;
five jujubes, six jujubes;
seven jujubes, eight jujubes;
nine jujubes, ten jujubes;
this is a tongue twister;
it only counts if you say it all in one breath!

HSK 3 quiz

3. 四是四,十是十 (sì shì sì,shí shì shí) – Four Is Four And Ten Is Ten

Sì   shì   sì,   shí   shì   shí;

四   是  四, 十    是   十;
Shísì   shì   shísì,     sìshí  shì sìshí ;
十四    是   十四,四十  是  四十;
Bié  bǎ sìshí shuō  “xìxí”,   bié    bǎ shísì shuō  “shìshí”.
别   把  四十  说    “细席”, 别    把  十四   说    “适时”。
Yào xiǎng   shuō  hǎo  sì  hé  shí,   quán  kào  shétóu  hé  yáchǐ .
要      想      说     好   四   和   十,全      靠     舌头    和    牙齿。
Yào  xiǎng  shuō  duì  sì,    shétóu pèng  yáchǐ;
要      想      说     对    四,  舌头    碰     牙齿;
Yào xiǎng  shuō  duì  shí,    shétóu bié  shēnzhí.
要      想      说     对    十,  舌头    别    伸直。
Rènzhēn  xué, cháng  liànxí,    shísì 、 sìshí、   sìshísì.
认真         学,    常      练习,十四、  四十、   四十四。

Four is four, ten is ten;
Fourteen is fourteen, forty is forty;
Don’t say forty as “fine seats”, don’t say fourteen as “timely”;
If you want to say four and ten, you must rely on your tongue and teeth;
If you want to correctly say four, your tongue must touch your teeth;
If you want to correctly say ten, don’t straighten your tongue;
Study hard, practice often, fourteen, forty, forty-four.

HSK 3 quiz

The Chinese language is broad, profound, and ever-changing, and tongue twisters can be an indispensable magic tool for practicing and being even more comfortable with spoken Chinese.

Don’t believe it? Try reading this 3 times in a row:

Hóng    lǐyú     yǔ   lǜ     lǐyú    yǔ     lǘ.
红        鲤鱼    与    绿    鲤鱼    与    驴。
A red carp and a green carp and a donkey.

HSK 3 quiz

Need some motivation? How about a challenge…

Add us on WeChat/ WhatsApp and send us a recording of you reading one of these tongue twisters, and you may be selected to receive a prize!

WhatsApp: +86 18229894003
WeChat Official Account: eclchildChinese2021

You May Want to Learn More :
“Are Your Kids “Tricksters” or “Treaters”?”
“How Children Can Overcome the Difficulties of Learning Pinyin?”
“Helping Your Child Introduce Themselves in Chinese”

HSK 1 quiz

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