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5 Mandarin Tongue Twisters (繞口令) To Challenge Your Mandarin Skills

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Let’s face it, English tongue twisters are already difficult to pronounce and remember, what more if we try to pronounce Chinese tongue twisters? A lot of people use tongue twisters just for fun, but little do they know, this is a great way to practice and improve your pronunciation skills. Learning Mandarin tongue twisters serves as a training ground as well as an essential step to perfecting your Mandarin. However, practicing and pronouncing tongue twisters shouldn’t be as fast as possible, but more on focusing on the clarity. The more you practice, the more you’ll naturally improve your fluency in Mandarin. So, are you up for the challenge? Check out these 5 easy Chinese tongue twister you can start with!

 

1) 四是四。十是十,十四是十四,四十是四十,四十四是四十四 

The most basic Mandarin tongue twisters we usually encounter, but also one of the hardest to pronounce! This tongue twister tests your skills in differentiating between the sh- and s- sounds in Mandarin.

Translation: Four is four, ten is ten, fourteen is fourteen, forty is forty.

Pinyin: Sì shì sì. Shí shì shí, shísì shì shísì, sìshí shì sìshí, sìshísì shì sìshísì

 

2) 吃葡萄吐葡萄皮,不吃葡萄不吐葡萄皮。吃葡萄不吐葡萄皮,不吃葡萄倒吐葡萄皮。

Considered as one of the most nonsensical tongue twisters, this sentence nonetheless was designed to practice your pronunciation skills on ch-, p-, and b-.

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.

Pinyin: Chī pútáo tǔ pútáo pí, bù chī pútáo bù tǔ pútáo pí. Chī pútáo bù tǔ pútáo pí, bù chī pútáo dào tǔ pútáo pí.

 

3) 知道就说知道, 不知道就说不知道, 不要知道说不知道, 也不要不知道说知道, 你知道不知道?

Now, moving on to a more intermediate level, this tongue twister will require you to have a more solid understanding and rereading it for at least 3x!

Translation: If you know say you know, if you don’t know say you don’t know. Don’t say you don’t know when you know, and don’t say you don’t know when you do know. Do you understand?

Pinyin: Zhīdào jiù shuō zhīdào, bù zhīdào jiù shuō bu zhīdào, bùyào zhīdào shuō bu zhīdào, yě bùyào bù zhīdào shuō zhīdào, nǐ zhīdào bù zhīdào?

 

4)  八百标兵奔北,炮兵并排北边跑. 炮兵怕把标兵碰,标兵怕碰炮兵炮。

A relatively uncommon tongue twister for some, this sentence will challenges your pronunciation skills on p-, and b-.

Translation: Eight hundred model soldiers ran north, and the artillery ran side by side to the north. The artillery is afraid of touching the artillery, the artillery is afraid of touching the artillery’s artillery.

Pinyin: Bābǎi biāobīng bēn běi, pàobīng bìngpái běibian pǎo. Pàobīng pà bǎ biāobīng pèng, biāobīng pà pèng pàobīng pào.

 

5) 老龍惱怒鬧老農,老農惱怒鬧老龍。農怒龍惱農更怒,龍惱農怒龍怕農

The most difficult tongue twister in history! Even people who are fluent in Mandarin finds it hard to pronounce this sentence! Try it yourself and see it you can master it in just a few practice.

Translation: The old dragon is angry at the old farmer, and the old farmer is angry at the old dragon. The farmer is angry and the farmer is angrier.

Pinyin: Lǎo lóng nǎonù nào lǎonóng, lǎonóng nǎonù nào lǎo lóng. Nóng nù lóng nǎo nóng gèng nù, lóng nǎo nóng nù lóng pà nóng

 

There you have it! Now it’s time for you to try and master these tongue twisters to help you improve your Mandarin skills!

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