Can Anyone Help with a Mandarin Chinese Tongue Twister?

Yi Lin from China sent me a tongue twister in Mandarin about soldiers. Here are the pinyin Chinese characters with a phonetical version and an mp3 of this rhyme.

MP3 of this Chinese Tongue Twister

Chinese Tongue Twister

I’d be grateful if anyone can send me either the traditional Chinese characters or an English or French translation of this tongue twister. If you can help out, please email me or comment below.



UPDATE: Check out the comments below for the Chinese text and a translation!

This article was posted on Wednesday, May 24th, 2006 at 2:38 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, China, Chinese, Chinese Nursery Rhymes, Countries & Cultures, Languages, Mandarin, Nursery Rhymes, Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

36 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Mandarin Chinese Tongue Twister?”

  1. Emma Says:



  2. David W Solomons Says:

    Systran translates this as folows:
    North 800 pivot men rush the slope artillery north to run the
    artillery to fear abreast in row bumps the pivot man the pivot man to
    fear bumps the artillery artillery
    Can someone confirm or improve this?

  3. Agnes Sim Says:

    Eight hundred pivot soldiers rush towards north hill slope
    Artillery soldiers abreast in rows run towards the north
    Artillery soldiers afraid to bump into the pivot soldiers
    Whereas the pivot soldiers afraid to bump into the artillery’s bomb

  4. Lisa Says:

    Many thanks for everyone’s help!

    Now I’m wondering what “pivot men” means. My husband found a definition at . It said:

    5. The soldier or position from which a military formation takes its reference when altering its position, etc.

    Now I’m wondering, how can you have 800 pivot men?

    Can anyone shed light on this?


  5. Lisa Says:

    Ray from Hong Kong wrote me that it should really be “spear soldiers” (spearmen) instead of “pivot soldiers”.

    If you put “spearmen” into the rhyme instead of “pivot soldiers” it makes sense.

  6. Danielle Says:

    Can anyone help turn this English version of a Chinese nursery rhyme into Mandarin or Pekinese? Or supply the original version in Chinese? Thanks for your help :o)

    Old Grandmother Wind
    Old grandmother Wind has come from the East
    She’s ridden a donkey — a dear little beast
    Old mother-in-law Rain has come back again
    She’s come from the North on a horse, it is plain
    Old grandmother Snow is coming you know,
    From the West on a crane — just see how they go
    And old aunty Lightning has come from the South,
    On a big yellow dog with a bit in his mouth.

  7. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear Danielle,
    Here are the simplified karakters for your nursery rhyme
    这是雪?临您知?的简?的?祖?, 从西方在起?机看?怎么他们是并且

    kindest regards

  8. Anna-Marie Says:

    盆和瓶 pén hé píng PAN and BOTTLE
    桌上有个盆 zhu? shàng yǒu gè pén A pan on the table,
    盆里有个瓶 pén l? yǒu gè píng there’s a bottle in the pan:
    砰 砰 砰 péng péng péng bang, bang, bang.
    是瓶砰盆 shì píng péng pén Is it the bottle hitting the pan
    还是盆砰瓶 hái shì pén péng píng or the pan hitting the bottle?

  9. Anna-Marie Says:

    This will be better I think
    砰 砰 砰
    pén hé píng
    zhu? shàng you gè pén
    pén li you gè píng
    péng péng péng
    shì píng péng pén
    hái shì pén péng píng

    PAN and BOTTLE
    A pan on the table,
    there’s a bottle in the pan:
    bang, bang, bang.
    Is it the bottle hitting the pan
    or the pan hitting the bottle?

    kindest regards

  10. Lisa Says:

    Thanks so much! I just added Pan and Bottle to our China Song pages at:

    If you’d ever like to send any other traditional songs or nursery rhymes from China, I’d be happy to post them. I’d also be happy to post a recording if you’d like to sing one of the songs. (But I understand that many people don’t like to record themselves singing.)

    Thanks again. It’s greatly appreciated!


  11. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    here is another nursery rhyme

    Hong2 qing1ting2
    Hong2 qing1ting2
    qing1 qing1 ting2.
    Shi2 shang4 qing1 qing1 ting2,
    shui3 shang4 qing1 qing1 ting2,
    feng1 li3 qing1 qing1 ting2.

    (written in traditional chinese characters)

    Red Dragonflies
    Red Dragonflies
    they gently stop.
    On the rocks gently they stop;
    On the water gently they stop;
    In the breeze gently they stop.

    if you like I can give you the dutch translation too.
    maybe this is good for people in Belgium and the Netherlands

    rode waterjuffers (libel)
    rode waterjuffers
    ze stoppen heel zacht
    stilblijvend op de rotsen
    zacht verpozend op het water
    licht pauzerend in de wind

    Is this useful to you?

    kindest regards

  12. Lisa Says:

    That’s wonderful! I added it to the China page.

    Any time you’d like to send a song or nursery rhyme, I’ll be more than happy to post it!

    Best regards,


  13. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear mama Lisa,
    with pleasure I send you another nursery rhyme
    please let me know if you like me to put tones on the vowels instead of numbers behind.

    Mei4 mei bei1 zhe4 yang2 wa2 wa,
    Zou3 dao4 hua1 yuan2 lai2 kan4 hua1,
    Wa2 wa ku1 le jiao4 ma1 ma,
    Shu4 shang4 de xiao3 niao3 xiao4 ha1 ha1.

    simplified characters

    traditional characters

    english translation
    Little sister carries her foreign doll
    to the garden to see some flowers.
    The doll cries for its mother.
    A bird up in a tree laughs.

    spanish translation
    hermanita porta su muñeca extranjera
    al jardin para mirar las flores
    la muñeca llora a su madre
    un pájaro en un arbol esta reiendo

    dutch translation
    zusje draagt haar buitenlandse pop
    naar de tuin om bloemen te bekijken
    de pop huilt om zijn mama
    een vogel in de boom lacht

    kindest regards

  14. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear mama Lisa,
    here are the chinese characters for the song Liang zhi lao hu”
    on the tune of “Frère Jacques”
    traditional characters

    simplified characters
    两 ? ? 虎
    两 ? ? 虎
    跑 得 快
    跑 得 快
    一 ? 没 有 眼 ?
    一 ? 没 有 尾 巴
    真 奇 怪
    真 奇 怪
    liang3 zhi3 lao3 hu3
    liang3 zhi3 lao3 hu3
    pao3 de kuai4
    pao3 de kuai4
    yi4 zhi3 mei2you3 yan3jing1
    yi4 zhi3 mei2you3 wei3ba
    zhen1 qi2 guai4
    zhen1 qi2 guai4

    two old tigers
    two old tigers
    running very fast
    running very fast
    one has no eyes
    one has no tail
    how strange
    how strange

    twee oude tijgers
    twee oude tijgers
    lopen heel snel
    lopen heel snel
    ene heeft geen ogen
    ene heeft geen staart
    hoe raar is dat
    hoe raar is dat

    kindest regards

  15. Lisa Says:

    Thanks so much Anne-Marie!

    I think the way you put the pronunciation is fine. I put the following below Red Dragonflies as an explanation of the numbers. Would you agree with this explanation? (If so, I’ll put it below the other songs too.)

    The numbers are the tones used for each word. The Chinese use 4 different tones.

    1. Is a high level tone (almost like your singing the word)
    2. Is a high rising tone
    3. The tone starts at a neutral point then drops down low then returns.
    4. Drops fast and abrupt

    Thanks again!


  16. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear mama Lisa,
    your explanation of the tones is indeed correct.
    Is it ok if I write the nursery rhymes and tongue twisters always in this blog? even if they are originally in an other language?

    I am enjoying your site very much.

    kindest regards

  17. Lisa Says:

    Hi Anne-Marie,

    You’re welcome to write nursery rhymes and tongue twisters here in the blog. Then I can transfer them to the appropriate country page. (Even if they’re in another language.)

    Thanks for your kind words!

    Best regards,


  18. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear mama Lisa,
    this is a Chinese children story

    chinese karakters are the same simplified as they are traditional.

    xiăo m?o niào chuáng !
    xiăo m?o niào chuáng le .
    xiăo m?o pà nán wéi qíng , bă bèizi gài zài chuáng shàng
    Yí , nă r lái de wèi r ?
    À , yuán lái shì zhè yàng !
    xiăo m?o , xiăo m?o , xiū , xiū , xiū .
    w? …..

    (?的?狗说) :
    (?猫哭) 哇———- 。

    free translation : english
    kitten wets the bed!
    kitten has wetted the bed.
    kitten fears being brought in embarrassment,
    take a blanket and lays it on the bed.
    (little dog came in and says : )
    Yuh, where is that smell coming from?
    Ah, this is the cause!
    kitten, kitten, shame ! shame! Shame!
    (kitten weeps ) Wah——-.

    poesje plast in bed
    poesje heeft in bed geplast
    poesje vreest in verlegenheid gebracht te worden ,
    grijpt het deken en legt het op het bed
    (het kleine hondje komt binnen en zegt : )
    bah , vanwaar komt die geur ?
    Ah, de oorsprong is van deze aard !
    poesje , poesje , schaam je , schaam je , schaam je .
    ( poesje weent ) whei———

    this is a wellknown story in China
    kindest regards

  19. Anna-Marie Says:

    sorry for confusion in pinyin text
    should be :

    xiăo m?o niào chuáng !
    xiăo m?o niào chuáng le .
    xiăo m?o pà nán wéi qíng , bă bèizi gài zài chuáng shàng
    (lái de xiăo g?u shu? : )
    Yí , nă r lái de wèi r ?
    À , yuán lái shì zhè yàng !
    xiăo m?o , xiăo m?o , xiū , xiū , xiū .
    (xiăo m?o kū : ) w? …..


  20. Lisa Says:

    Thank you Anne-Marie!

    I’m wondering if you’d know of a traditional Chinese song, nursery rhyme or poem that I could post for the Chinese New Year? I think a lot of people would enjoy it, if it’s possible to find one.

    Please feel free to let me know if there’s anything you’re looking for, that we can help you find.

    Thanks again for everything!

    Best regards,


  21. Anna-Marie Says:

    Dear mama Lisa,
    here is the chinese text and translation of the song I sent you
    It is my favorite song



    bú pà sh?n g?o
    bú pà lù yáo
    mĕi lì yĭng xiàng
    wăng yĕ wăng bù liăo
    t?u kàn yì yăn
    yí qiè d?u zhème mĕi hăo
    zài kàn yì yăn
    wǒ zhè yì shēng bú biàn liăo ǒ= wo3
    wǒ zhè yì shēng bú biàn liăo
    bú pà sh?n g?o
    bú pà lù yáo
    mĕi lì yĭng xiàng
    wăng yĕ wăng bù liăo

    Nederlands vrije vertaling
    titel : Niet vergeten !
    Vrees niet de hoge berg
    Vrees niet de verre weg
    De mooie schaduwvormen
    Vergeten doe je nooit
    een steelse blik
    zulks moois beantwoordt aan alles
    nogmaals een oogopslag
    ik zou dit ontstaan niet veranderen
    ik zou dit ontstaan niet veranderen
    Vrees niet de hoge berg
    Vrees niet de verre weg
    De mooie schaduwvormen
    Vergeten doe je nooit!!!

    English : free translation
    titel : Don’t forget
    don’t be afraid of the high montain
    don’t be afraid of the long road
    the beautifull shadows
    You’ll never forget
    take a quick look
    such beauty fullfill everything
    again a quick look
    I wouldn’t change this origin
    I wouldn’t change this origin
    don’t be afraid of the high montain
    don’t be afraid of the long road
    the beautifull shadows
    You’ll never forget!!!

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do
    big hug

  22. Danielle Says:

    What are the chinese characters for big sister and little sister? Is there any way you can say little big sister or big little sister?

  23. Sarah Says:

    In pinyin, big sister is pronounced jie jie and little sister is pronounced mei mei [may may]j.

    jie jie ??
    mei mei 妹妹

  24. myncroaro Says:


    As a fresh user i just wanted to say hi to everyone else who uses this forum B-)

  25. mnorgovudkka Says:

    Hy my name is mnorgovudkka
    Im from mongolia

  26. Jennifer Says:

    Ok……. I like it, but can u send one to me by e-mail?

  27. Sammy Li Wei Long Says:

    Dear Mama Lisa,

    Here is a little bit of correction for the song Ling Zhi Lao Hu
    in English so that people can sing it in English according to the tune:
    Liang Zhi Lao Hu , Two Old Tigers:
    Two old tigers
    Two old tigers
    Run very fast
    Run very fast
    One of them has no eyes
    One of them has no tail
    Oh how strange
    Oh how strange

    Yours sincerely,

    Sammy Li Wei Long
    Sydney, Australia

  28. tony rivas Says:

    i was told a tongue twister in either mandarin or cantonese. it is about a princess called say/sai/she (??) who died when she was 44. can anyone help with both the original language and an english translation??

    thank you

  29. Sarah Says:

    Can someone please show me what the name “Shaun” would look like in chinese writing?

  30. Fire Basket · Says:

    is there something like a free translation service that we can use online ? ”`

  31. Wendy Says:

    Dear Lisa:

    I Am From China And I Not Speak To Much EnglishXd
    Ypurs Tongue Twisters Are Amazing.
    I’m In Panama I Send You Greetings In Panama.

    My Email Is If You Want To Add Me Ok. Bye Bye:)

  32. Wendy Says:

    A Question How Old You Have??

  33. novera rahman Says:

    could anybody inform me what does the “po” in the upper right corner mean??….i mean the exact English translation of that particular word??

  34. Monique Says:

    坡 = pō = slope

  35. novera rahman Says:

    thanks a lot!!!….yay!

  36. zhunlian Says:

    i have a poem can i post it? if i can here it is
    yu2 er yu2 er shui3 zhong1 you2 you2 lai3 you2 qu4 le4 you1 you1 lei2 le wo4 shui3 cao3 e4 le chi1 xiao3 chong2 le4 you1 you1 le4 you1 you1 shui3 jing1 shi4 jie4 ren4 zi4 you4
    Fish wanders in the water,enjoying the great wonder.Resting in the waterweed when weary;eating the little worm when hungry.It’s so good to feel free in this crystal world

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