Try to say this: 妈妈骑马Mā ma qí mǎ (Mother rides a horse) and 牛郎恋刘娘niú láng liàn liú niáng (Ox herder boy loves Lady Liu). Our Mandarin teachers are having a go (scroll down for video).
And while we’re having a laugh, we’re also serious about tongue-twisters. The book 现代汉语Xiàndài hànyǔ (Modern Chinese) — which is regarded as a Bible for Mandarin teachers — lists four good reasons to practice them:
- The most important thing is to practice the coordination of the lips, teeth, and tongue
- Helps you pronounce clearly and accurately
- Tongue twisters are often stories, so you need to pace yourself when you speak
- Improves your thinking & speaking speed
With that in mind, here are four of our teachers tongue-twisting, with subtitles. Can you keep up?