Two Tigers

Children's Songs for Learning Mandarin Chinese

Peter Griffin

Two Tigers is a Chinese children's song about two tigers who are running fast. One of them is running without ears and the other one without a tail. How strange!

Practice saying the words with their correct tones before singing. Singing tends to hide the tonal differences of words, so make sure you know the proper tones for the words first. Singing is a great way of learning new words and getting to know the language in a fun way, but remember that you can't pronounce words like they are sung because then the tones will come out incorrect most of the time.

Read more about learning Chinese through music and lyrics.

Notes

Children's songs are a great way to practice Chinese and even learn new vocabulary words for beginner-level Mandarin speakers. What lessons can Two Tigers  offer?

Let's look at the phrase, 兩隻老虎 (traditional) / 两只老虎 (simplified) ( liǎng zhī lǎohǔ).

兩 / 两 (liǎng) means "two". There are two ways to say "two" in Mandarin Chinese: 二 (èr) and 兩 / 两 liǎng. Liǎng is always used with measure words, but èr does not usually take a measure word.

隻 / 只 (zhī) is a measure word for tigers, birds and some other animals.

Now let's look at the phrase, 跑得快 (​pǎo dé kuài).

 得 (dé) has many roles in Chinese grammar. In this case, it is adverbial. Therefore, 得 links 跑 (pǎo), which means to run, and 快 (kuài), which means fast. 

Pinyin 

liǎng zhī lǎohǔ

liǎng zhī lǎohǔ, liǎng zhī lǎohǔ
pǎo dé kuài, pǎo dé kuài
yī zhī méiyǒu ěrduo, yī zhī méiyǒu wěiba
zhēn qíguài, zhēn qíguài

Traditional Chinese Characters

兩隻老虎

兩隻老虎 兩隻老虎
跑得快 跑得快
一隻沒有耳朵 一隻沒有尾巴
真奇怪 真奇怪

Simplified Characters

两只老虎

两只老虎 两只老虎
跑得快 跑得快
一只没有耳朵 一只没有尾巴
真奇怪 真奇怪

English Translation

Two tigers, two tigers,
Running fast, running fast
One without ears, one without a tail
How strange! How strange!

Hear The Song

Two Tigers is sung to the tune of the popular French lullaby, Frère Jacques.

You can listen to how this song is sung by looking up videos like this one.