Online BLCU Chinese Teacher Angela Gives a Lesson on Tones and Tongue Twisters!

All people who have an experience of learning Chinese know that speaking Chinese isn’t hard. Speaking right Chinese, that’s the hardest part. It’s not about the pronunciation, it’s about tones.

Chinese language has 5 tones, 4 of them make foreigners’ lives really hard, as the fifth one is neutral tone. The funny fact is that when you are learning tones you don’t think of them as of something complicated, because it’s not that hard to repeat after your teacher and say: mā, má, mǎ, mà. The problem shows itself when you try to say a whole sentence and find out that saying quickly even three words with different tones is kind of impossible.

teaches chinese tonesBesides, by the time you try again, you’ve already forgotten which word had which tone and all other rules.

So let’s see what method of improving the tones a teacher of BLCU online course, Angela, suggests: 

Learn Chinese Tones with a Famous Tough Twister

–Mom rids a horse

What is a tone?
Many Chinese beginners asked me that question before.

BLCU-Learn-Chinese-OnlineIn Chinese, a syllable is composed of an Initial consonant, a Vowel and a tone. The tone of a word describe
s how the pitch changes of a syllable. We have four tones and a neutral tone.

第一声5-5            第二声3-5            第三声2-1-4       第四声5-1

the first tone     the second tone    the third tone  the fourth tone

tone 1tone 2tone 4tone 4




mā                          má                      mǎ                         mà

妈(mother)         麻(flax)               马(horse)              骂(to scold)

Different tones have different meanings. And the tones also make the language beautiful and interesting.

So let’s practise the tones with a very interesting tough twister.

Māma qí mǎ, mǎ màn, māma mà mǎ.


Mom rides a horse. The horse is slow. Mom scolds the horse.

妈 mean mother. First tone, high and flat. Pitch it high enough, and keep it throughout.


妈妈 mom. The second syllable of this word is a neutral tone which pronounce in middle pitch and very short.

to ride. Second tone. It is a raising tone, similar to expressing surprise in English. “What?”“Ha?”

horse, third tone, dropping low then rising. Be sure to let it drop low enough.马, horse.

骂, to scold. Forth tone, sharp falling.

Now try read this tongue twister by yourself please. Pay attention to the tones.

Māma qí mǎ, mǎ màn, māma mà mǎ.


If you find this method useful and think that you should join Angela’s classes or any other teacher’s classes of BLCU online course, you can learn more about the program. The classes are starting soon!

BLCU’s Online Chinese Programs

Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) offers two types of online Chinese classes: one-on-one and group classes.

1 on 1

The 1 on 1 Chinese class at BLCU can take you from 0 to HSK 6 fluency within 41 weeks at 12 hours per week. The classes are personalized and offered in a one-on-one format online.

The price calculates at around $15 USD per hour. You can buy a 30 class package for 4500 RMB (Around 650 USD). The more classes you order, the lower the price, and each time you order more the price is also reduced. You can choose to take in installments or order the full HSK 6 in one go for a discount. Apply for the 1 on 1 Chinese class at BLCU here.

There is currently a buy 30 classes, and get 2 free offer. For every 30 classes you order you will get 2 free.

Study Chinese in BLCU
BLCU campus
Group Class

BLCU recently launched online group classes for different types of learners. These are from HSK 1 – 4 level and taken over a period of 12 weeks. You will receive classes together with 5 to 9 other students in a group with the guidance of BLCU expert teachers. The cost of the 12-week program is only $144 USD. Check out a sample class below or apply for BLCU’s group class here.


About Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU)


Most Popular Buzzwords and Phrases in China

Beijing Language and Culture University is China’s No.1 Chinese Learning University for Foreigners. Based in Beijing BLCU teaches thousands of international students each year.

As an international university, BLCU’s vision for the past 40 years has been to “popularize Chinese language and promote Chinese culture.” BLCU also undertakes the tasks of teaching foreign languages, computer science, and technology, finance, and accountancy to Chinese students.

Register For the Online Classes

Online classes are stating soon! Fill out the form here to complete your registration in the program.

Shynar from Kazakhstan, studied at Beijing Language and Culture University.
Shynar Shinibekova

Join 180,000+ international students and get monthly updates

Receive Admissions, Scholarships & Deadlines Updates from Chinese Universities.
Unsubscribe anytime.