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44 Rock Lions, a Chinese Tongue Twister 四十四隻石獅子 ,一個中文繞口令

四十四隻石獅子 ,一個中文繞口令

(四十)(四)(隻)(石)(獅子) ,(一個)(中文)(繞口令)

(ㄙˋ ㄕˊ) (ㄙˋ) (ㄓ) (ㄕˊ) (ㄕ ㄗ) , (ㄧ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄖㄠˋ ㄎㄡˇ ㄌㄧㄥˋ)

(si4 shi2) (si4) (zhi1) (shi2) (shi1 zi.), (yi1 ge.) (zhong1 wen2) (rao4 kou3 ling4)

(four tens) (four) (MW❶ for lion) (rock, stone) (lion), (a, one) (Chinese) (to go around + mouth + to cause)

Forty-four rock lions, a Chinese tongue-twister





(ㄐㄧㄣ ㄋㄧㄢˊ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄌㄠˇ  ㄧㄠ) (ㄋㄩˇ ㄦˊ) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄉㄚˋ ㄒㄩㄝˊ) (ㄒㄩㄢˇ) (ㄒㄧㄛ) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄎㄜˋ)

(jin1 nian2) (wo3 men. de.) (lao3 yao1) (nü3 er2) (zai4) (da4 xue2) (xuan3) (xiu1) (zhong1 wen2) (ke4)

(this year) (our) (youngest) (daughter) (at) (university) (elective) (study) (Chinese language) (class)

This year, our youngest daughter is studying Chinese as an elective at the university.




(ㄐㄧˇ )(ㄋㄧㄢˊ) (ㄑㄧㄢˊ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄍㄣ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄓㄨˋ ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄊㄞˊ ㄨㄢ) (ㄐㄧㄛˇ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄩㄝˋ) , ( ㄧㄝˇ) (ㄒㄩㄝˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄉㄧㄢˇ) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ)

(ji3) (nian2) (qian2) (ta1) (gen1) (wo3 men.) (zhu4 zai4) (tai2 wan1) (jiu3 ge.) (yue4), (ye3) (xue2) (le.) (yi1 dian3) (zhong1 wen2)

(few) (years) (ago, before) (she) (with) (us) (to live at) (Taiwan) (nine) (month), (also) (to learn) (a little) (Chinese language)

A few years ago she lived with us in Taiwan for 9 months and also learned a bit of the Chinese language.




(ㄧㄣ ㄦˊ), (ㄓㄜˋ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄐㄧˊ ㄅㄧㄝˊ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄉㄨㄟˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄌㄞˊ ㄕㄨㄛ) (ㄅㄧˇ ㄐㄧㄠˋ) (ㄖㄨㄥˇ ㄧˋ)

(yin1 er2), (zhe4 ge.) (ji2 bie2) (de.) (zhong1 wen2) (dui4) (ta1) (lai1 shuo1) (bi3 jiao4) (rong3 yi4)

(As a result), (this) (level) (adjective marker) (Chinese language) (toward, for) (her) (to come to speak) (comparatively) (easy)

As a result, this level of Chinese class is relatively easy for her.




(ㄗㄨㄟˋ ㄐㄧㄣˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄉㄚˋ ㄒㄩㄝˊ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄕ) (ㄐㄧㄠ) (ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙) (ㄓㄜˋ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄖㄠˋ ㄎㄡˇ ㄌㄧㄥˋ)

(zui4 jin4) (ta1) (da4 xue2) (de.) (zhong1 wen2) (lao3 shi1) (jiao1) (ta1 men.) (zhe4 ge.) (rao4 kou3 ling4)

(recently) (her) (unversity) (adjective marker) (Chinese language) (teacher) (to teach) (them) (this) (tongue twister)

Recently, her university Chinese professor taught them this tongue-twister:







Here it is translated line by line:




ㄕˊ ㄕˋ ㄕˊ

(shi2) (shi4) (shi2)

(ten) (is/to be) (ten)

Ten is ten.




ㄙˋ ㄕˋ ㄙˋ

(si4) (shi4) (si4)

(four) (is) (four)

Four is four.




ㄕˊ ㄅㄨˊ ㄕˋ ㄙˋ

(shi2) (bu2) (shi4) (si4)

(ten) (not) (is) (four)

Ten is not four.




ㄙˋ ㄅㄨˊ ㄕˋ ㄕˊ

(si4) (bu2) (shi4) (shi2)

(four) (not) (is) (ten)

Four is not ten.




(ㄋㄧˇ ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄕㄨㄛ) (ㄇㄚ˙)

(ni3) (hui4) (shuo1) (ma.)

(you) (can, able to) (to say, to speak) (question particle)

Can you say it?




(ㄕˋ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄈㄤ ㄈㄚˇ) (ㄌㄧㄢˋ ㄒㄧˊ) (ㄕㄨㄛ) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄎㄡˇ ㄧㄣ)

(shi4) (hen3) (hao3) (de.) (fang1 fa3) (lian4 xi2) (shuo1) (zhong1 wen2) (de.) (kou3 yin1)

(is/to be) (very) (good) (adjective marker) (method, way) (to practice) (to speak) (Chinese language) (tones, sounds)

It is a very good way to practice saying Chinese tones.




(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄍㄠˋ ㄙㄨˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄕ) (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄩㄝˊ) (ㄖㄠˋ ㄎㄡˇ ㄌㄧㄥˋ) (ㄉㄜ˙ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ), (ㄊㄚ) (ㄍㄠˋ ㄙㄨˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄓㄜˋ ㄍㄜ˙)

(wo3) (gao4 su4) (wo3 de.) (zhong1 wen2) (lao3 shi1) (wo3) (xue2) (rao4 kou3 ling4) (de. shi2 hou4), (ta1) (gao4 su4) (wo3) (zhe4 ge.)

(I) (to tell) (my) (Chinese) (teacher) (I) (to learn) (tongue twister) (when), (she) (to tell) (me) (this)

When I told my Chinese teacher that I had learned the tongue twister, she told me this:




(ㄙˋ ㄕˊ) (ㄙˋ) (ㄓ) (ㄕˊ) (ㄕ ㄗ)

(si4 shi2) (si4) (zhi1) (shi2) (shi1 zi.)

(four tens) (four) (MW) (rock, stone) (lion)

Forty four rock lions.


我會錄音我自己說的❸, 這會讓你會心一笑 :

(我)(會)(錄音)(我)(自己)(說)(的), (這)(會)(讓)(你)(會心一笑)❹

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄌㄩˋ ㄧㄣ)( ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ) (ㄕㄨㄛ) (ㄉㄜ˙), (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄖㄤˋ) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ ㄒㄧㄣ ㄧ ㄒㄧㄠˋ)

(wo3) (hui4) (lu4 yin1) (wo3) (zi4 ji3) (shuo1) (de.), (zhe4) (hui4) (rang4) (ni3) (hui4 xin1 yi1 xiao4)

(I) (will) (to record) (I) (myself) (to speak) (de.), (this) (will) (to make) (you) (have an understanding smile)

I will make a recording of myself saying it; this will make you smile.


Here is the audio of me saying the two tongue twisters.



❶ MW is a common abbreviation for “measure word” when discussing Chinese grammar. A measure word, if you haven’t heard of it, is a specific designator used when referring to a number of something such as “one hand” or “one cookie.” We have similar words in English, such as a “herd” of buffalo, a “length” of string, or a “piece” of cake. The difference is that in Chinese a measure word is used almost any time specific amounts are spoken of. The measure words tend to be descriptive of shape or size. My tutor says that nowadays, it is common for the younger generation of native Chinese speakers to use the less specific measure word 個 ㄍㄜ˙ (ge.) for many things, instead of the specific, traditional measure word.

❷ The sentence would make sense without these two characters. They just fill out the meaning.

❸ If you look at the English translation, you can see that a preposition was used. As mentioned previously, the Chinese language does not have the same sort of prepositions, so a direct and somewhat awkward translation would be “myself to speak recording,” with the “myself to speak” being what describes the recording. “To speak” is the infinitive form of the English verb.

❹ 會心一笑 is a four word idiom meaning “an understanding smile.” Breaking it down by character can give a hint of the meaning and make it easier to remember, as it is somewhat poetic. Notice that one of the others possible meanings for 會 ㄏㄨㄟˋ (hui4) is used.



(ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄒㄧㄣ) (ㄧ) (ㄒㄧㄠˋ)

(hui4) (xin1) (yi1) (xiao4)

(to meet) (heart) (one) (to smile)