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Mandarin Tongue-Twister September 21, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Mandarin, Speaking.

Last Friday, I went out for lunch with a few Mandarin-speaking colleagues. We went to an authentic Northern-Chinese Cuisine. We knew it was authentic because it was certified by someone among us who actually came from Harbin, China.

At some point during the lunch, someone brought up a well-known Mandarin tongue-twister. Being the only non-native speaker at the table, I was honoured to demonstrate it. I heard about that tongue-twister before, but it had been a while since I last tried it. So I totally messed it up. The whole table just went LOL.

Tongue-twisters are absolutely fascinating, especially to language learners. They could be very useful, too. First of all, they typically do not require too much time to perfect. Secondly, if you can pull it off, you will definitely impress the native speakers. Even if you fail to do so, it will help to break the ice.

Here is my attempt on the tongue-twister recorded over the weekend. The background noise testifies that the clip has not been edited.

“四 是 四 , 十 是 十 , 十 四 是 十 四 , 四 十 是 四 十 .”
(si4 shi4 si4, shi2 shi4 shi2, shi2si4 shi4 shi2si4, si4shi2 shi4 si4shi2)

Here is the meaning: “4 is 4. 10 is 10. 14 is 14. 40 is 40”.



1. naturegirl - September 21, 2007

Hihi, this is a very popular tongue-twister. Especially when I show it to my friends, it totally confuses them. But I know it in a little longer version:
四十四是四十四 sì shí sì shì sì shí sì
四十四只石狮子是死的 sì shí sì zhī shí shī zi shì sǐ de
There is just the addition 44 is 44; 44 lions are dead;
It’s so confusing, because this tongue- twister not only plays with similar syllables but also with similar tones.

2. chris(mandarin_student) - October 6, 2007

sounds good to me!
my attempt can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2of92d
or a direct link to my sound file at http://www.box.net/files#0:f:9805042
I didn’t try a really fast one I tend to loose it by the 44 😦

3. Edwin - October 6, 2007

That was impressive!

4. Keith - October 7, 2007

This is a tongue twister? All I heard was static. 😉

5. Susan - February 2, 2008


Hope you don’t mind I post here. A nice song by Richie Ren that I would like to present to you on ECpod (can learn some mandarin from this song too): Richie Ren’s Song Animation Video

http://www.ECpod.com is a free website to learn English and Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and etc) using videos. These videos are produced by our members and you are welcome to contribute as well. You can make friends too within our community and find online students to teach.

Sorry if you find the site slow now – it will be resolved in 2 weeks time after we sort out our overseas bandwidth issues. Thanks.

Rgds, Susan

6. cheeky70164 - February 13, 2010

zhuō shàng yǒu gè pén, Lǎo shī shì bú shi sì shí sì suì de?
pén lǐ yǒu gè píng,
pèng pèng pèng,
shì píng pèng pén,
hái shì pén pèng píng.

mā mā qí mǎ,
mǎ màn, mā mā mà mǎ.

扁 担 长 , 板 凳 宽 , 扁 担 比 板 凳 长 , 板 凳 比 扁 担 宽 , 扁 担 绑 在 了 板 凳 上 , 板 凳 不 让 扁 担 绑 在 板 凳 上 , 扁 担 非 要 绑 在 板 凳 上 。
biǎn dàn cháng, bǎn dèng kuān, biǎn dàn bǐ bǎn dèng cháng,
bǎn dèng bǐ biǎn dàn kuān, biǎn dàn bǎng zài le
bǎn dèng shàng, bǎn dèng bú ràng biǎn dàn bǎng zài bǎn
dèng shàng, biǎn dàn fēi yào bǎng zài bǎn dèng shàng.

Cool, huh?

7. cheeky70164 - February 13, 2010

I think I can make a video……

8. cheeky70164 - February 13, 2010


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