Chinese Language Blog

Even More Tongue Twisters (绕口令) Posted by on Jun 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Now that we’ve gone over some basic tongue twisters or  绕口令 (rào kǒu lìng) I thought this would be a good time to step up the level of difficulty and provide even more challenging tongue twisters. These ones will give you quite a workout, so if your tongue isn’t tired yet it should be after reading (and practicing) along with this post. After all, practice makes perfect.

Is your pronunciation or 发音 ( yīn) improving? Is it easier to make the sounds or does your tongue just get tied in a knot like our little friend over to the left? Try following along in the video. If you recall from last tongue twisters post, we’ve already practiced this one:


chī pútáo tǔ pútáo pí ér,
bù chī pútáo bù tǔ pútáo pí ér.
chī pútáo bù tǔ pútáo pí ér,
bù chī pútáo dào tǔ pútáo pí ér.

Translation: Eat grapes throw out their skins, don’t eat grapes don’t throw out their skins. Eat grapes don’t throw out their skins, don’t eat grapes throw out their skins.

Not so hard, was it? Now that we’ve warmed up, lets get into some new tongue twisters. Here’s an easy one to start off with first:


Xī Shī sǐshí sìshísì.

Translation: The Useful Lady of the West was 44 years old at the time of her death.


lǎotóur duān tāng shàng tǎ
tāng tàng
tǎ huá
tāng sǎ
tāng tàng tǎ.

Translation: An old man, holding (a bowl of) soup, climbed up a tower. The soup was hot. The tower (steps) slippery; (so) the soup got spilt (and) the soup scalded the tower (steps).

墻上掛面鼔. 鼔上畫老虎.
不知道是布補鼔, 還是布補虎.

Qiáng-shang guà miàn gǔ. Gǔ-shang huà lǎohǔ.
Lǎohǔ zhuāpòle gǔ.
Ná kuài bù lái bǔ,
Bùzhīdào shì bù bǔ gǔ, háishi bù bǔ hǔ.

Translation: On the wall hangs a drum, on which a tiger is painted. The tiger clawed a hole into the drum. Taking a piece of cloth to repair it, I didn’t know whether the cloth was mending the drum or the cloth was mending the tiger.


qīng qīng shān shàng yī gēn téng
qīng téng dǐ xià guà tóng líng
fēng chuī téng dòng tóng líng dòng
fēng tíng téng tíng tóng líng tíng

Translation: On a green mountain grows a vine. Under the vine there hangs a copper bell. When the wind blows, the vine moves, and so does the bell. When the wind stops, the vine stops, and the bell stops too.


cūn qián yǒu gè yán yuán yǎn
cūn hòu yǒu g4 yán yǎn yuán
bù zhī yán yuán yǎn dē yǎn yuán
hái shì yán yǎn yuán dē yǎn yuán?

Translation: In front of the village there is a Yan Yuanyan. Behind the village there is a Yan Yanyuan. Don’t know if Yan Yuanyan’s eyes are rounder or Yan Yanyuan’s eyes are rounder.

Whew that was exhausting. Try it again from the top, 再次发言!

Follow Stephen on Twitter: @seeitbelieveit

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About the Author: Stephen

Writer and blogger for all things China related. Follow me on twitter: @seeitbelieveit -- My Background: Fluent Mandarin speaker with 3+ years working, living, studying and teaching throughout the mainland. Student of Kung Fu and avid photographer and documentarian.

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