Secret Learning Tool: Chinese Jokes

Chinese Jokes: A Secret Learning Tool

Chinese jokesCan you really learn Mandarin through Chinese jokes? Sure you can


Humor is a cross-cultural way to make friends and have a good time with the people around you.

Unfortunately, it is often one of the trickiest parts of a language to understand.

Puns, cultural references, and sarcasm all require a fairly advanced level of language and cultural comprehension.

So to those learning the language, Chinese jokes can often seem hard to understand.

Despite this, language learners need not fear! You don’t need to wait until HSK 6 to begin appreciating funny things in Chinese.  Jokes can be a fun and memorable way to learn new vocabulary and cultural nuance.

Here are two jokes that are a great way to practice your Chinese, improve your reading, and have fun learning – all at the same time!

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For the following jokes, read the jokes, then check the caption under the photo for a hint.  If you still can’t get it, read the explanation, then go back and try to understand the whole thing.  Make sure you read the jokes aloud to get in some pronunciation practice!

Chinese Joke #1: Life advice (HSK 4)

Character Version



Pinyin Version

māma shuō: “jīntiān néng wánchéngde shì bùyào liú dào míngtiān”

érzi huídá : “hǎoba ba, quán dàngāo gěiwǒ wǒ 。 dōu chīguāng le ba”


Chinese Jokes - Eat the whole cake!

Chinese Jokes – Eat the whole cake!

Mom says

Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Literally this means: The things you can finish today, do not save until tomorrow.

Son responds

Okay, then give me the whole cake.

I will eat the whole thing today.

Chinese Joke #2: Alphabet Humor (HSK 3)

Character Version

A: 谁比较高?A还是C?

B: C, 因为,A比C低。

Pinyin Version

A: shéi bǐjiào gāo? A háishi C?

B: C, yīnwèi A bǐ C dī 。

ABCD letters lined up on wooden table

Hint: 比较 is used in comparisons! But 比 and 低 sounds suspiciously similar to a certain letters of the alphabet….


A: Who is taller? A or C?

B: C because, A is lower than C.

But this is funny because the pinyin for “A is lower than C” sounds like “ABCD” (A bǐ C dī)

Don’t let the Chinese jokes stop here!

Ask your friends or Chinese teacher to share their favorite Chinese jokes with you.

Feeling brave? Try translating some of these jokes from English into Chinese!

Whether you’re already in China or hoping to visit in the future, having a few jokes up your sleeve is a good way to break the ice, impress your friends, and feel more confident in your language use skills.

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