If your children attends school in an English-speaking country, they are undoubtedly familiar with these sayings:
“She sells sea shells by the sea shore.”
Or, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
These phrases are popular tongue twisters, which are a series of words or sounds that are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. As the speaker attempts each phrase, he or she will be juggling rapidly changing consonants, shifting tongue positions, and different shapes of the mouth. Quite a fun challenge in verbal aerobics indeed!
Mandarin Chinese also offers a plethora of exciting tongue twisters. Plus, tongue twisters in Chinese include the additional challenge of navigating the four tones. Not only are these Chinese tongue twisters beneficial for adult Mandarin learners who want to practice enunciation, they are even more helpful for young children who may be in the beginning stages of studying Chinese.
Read More: 4 Ways To Get Your Kids To Love Learning Chinese
Woman with deaf phone
BENEFITS OF TONGUE TWISTERS FOR MANDARIN CHINESE LEARNERS:
1. CULTIVATING INTEREST (ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN!)
Even though Chinese is one of the most useful skills that children can develop from a young age, it may be quite a challenge to get your kids to love learning Chinese. Learning the four tones usually proves to be frustrating for those who have little experience with the concept. By teaching your tongue twisters, you can change rout memorization and repetition into a fun competition. Children can try to perfect their pronunciation and try to say the tongue twister in less time each time, beating their own record again and again.
2. BUILDING THE BASICS OF MANDARIN PRONUNCIATION
In order to speak Chinese with a native accent, students have to ensure they are always using proper inflection and training their muscles to create sounds that are not used in English. Tongue twisters will teach beginner speakers to communicate with firm, clear enunciation, creating the foundation for natural-sounding speech as they continue to develop their Chinese language abilities. Tongue twisters can also help you target specific sounds that may be difficult for your child. For example, if you or your student tends to mix up the “s” or “sh” consonants, the first tongue twister we provide below would be fantastic practice.
HOW TO TEACH TONGUE TWISTERS TO YOUR CHILDREN
Happy group of kids playing at the parkEven for native-born Mandarin Chinese speakers, tongue twisters present quite a challenge. So when teaching a new tongue twister to your children, start slowly and enunciate every word as to pass on the correct pronunciation.
You may want to speak the sentence one syllable at a time, and have your children repeat back after each syllable to ensure they have the correct pronunciation and tone. After the first few times, you can then challenge your children to memorize the tongue twister and try to increase the speed. This is where the fun begins! You can bring in a stopwatch and engage your children in a friendly competition to see who can complete the tongue twister fastest while still pronouncing every word correctly.