3 Popular Chinese Tongue Twisters To Challenge Yourself

Mandarin Course Singapore, Mandarin Courses For Adult

When you have decided to learn Chinese, then there are plenty of different tones and consonants that you need to get used to. When you are learning to speak in another language, it can be tricky to get used to it. This is because the Chinese language demands many different tonal shifts and changes for a new learner.

Becoming fluent in Chinese demands a lot of practice. Challenging yourself to say difficult phrases and sounds is one of the most successful ways in which you can master a new language. Around the world, teachers are looking to utilise tongue twisters and enhance the learning of students by incorporating fun in it. Not only does the repetition of difficult tongue twisters help you with the pronunciation of Chinese, but it also helps with the intonation and inflection of Chinese words.

As the Chinese language has many varying tones for a new learner, a tongue twister will help them immensely. To challenge yourself even further, here are 3 of the best Chinese tongue twisters you should try out.

1. Number four

An extremely popular tongue twister in Chinese encompasses of the four, forty, and ten. This Chinese tongue twister is challenging as it tests your ability to pronounce the different s- and sh- sounds in Chinese. Even though pre-school students in Chinese schools primarily use this tongue twister, it is also perfect for beginners who are enrolled in a Chinese course in Singapore.

If you are currently covering letters and learning to count in your Mandarin course, then this tongue twister will challenge your pronunciation and also improve your counting skills. The translation of the tongue twister is: four is four, ten is ten, fourteen is fourteen, forty-four is forty-four. In total, the tongue twister encompasses plenty of s-sounds and sh-sounds, which can help you improve your pronunciation of Chinese.

2. Mother rides a horse

Filled with the m-sound, this Chinese tongue twister is perfect for beginners. The translation of the tongue twister is as follows: Mom rides a horse, the horse is slow, mom yells at horse.

Despite having a simpler meaning, the twister challenges the learner as it has a lot of different tones in Chinese words. If you are struggling with Chinese tones, this tongue twister can help you improve.

3. If you do not know, now you know

An expert-level tongue twister, this will enable beginner Chinese learners to comprehend different words and their meanings much more clearly. This tongue twister requires learners to have an understanding of the words that they are saying and may take plenty of tries before they successfully get it right. However, once you do grasp the words and their meaning, this tongue twister will become natural to you.

It goes as follows: If you know, say you know, if you don’t know, say you don’t know, don’t say you know when you don’t know, and don’t not know and say you know, do you know?


There are plenty of other tongue twisters to help you learn Chinese and improve. If you are enrolled in a Mandarin course for adult, you can challenge yourself with poet Zhao Yuanren’s 92-character poem, ‘Ten stone lions.’ It is similar to the number four tongue twister, where the poem challenges the speaker with constant repetitive s- and sh- sounds.

In every language, there are many challenging tongue twisters you can find that can help you improve in a new language too. For instance, in English, there are difficult tongue twisters you can try, such as ‘She sells seashells at the seashore’ and ‘How much wood does a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?’

By challenging your Chinese learning with the tongue twisters mentioned above, you will not only improve in the language, but you will be able to impress your classmates with your new skills too!

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