Secret Learning Tool: Chinese Jokes

Chinese Jokes: A Secret Learning Tool

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

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

Chinese Jokes

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.

Jokes in Chinese – Funny Chinese Videos

Jokes in Chinese #1 – Life Advice (HSK4)

Jokes in Chinese #2 – Alphabet Humour (HSK3)

Jokes in Chinese #3 – Marriage Advice (HSK2)

Jokes in Chinese #4 – Fruit Humour (HSK0)

Chinese Memes

Chinglish in China

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.

Funny Chinese Videos

Before we get stuck into some written jokes here’s a couple of videos to enjoy.

First up, our student Zoe had some fun filming this video where she stitches Ben up a treat. Here’s what NOT to do when asking someone out in Chinese!

Chinese Pranks on video

Next up time for some classic Chinese pranks, and 3 jokes explained by native speakers! Enjoy

Now time for some Chinese jokes you can use with the locals! We’ve assigned each joke a HSK level also to give you an idea of the vocabulary needed to tell the joke.

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

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)

Outsmarted by your child. It happens to parents all the time! Here’s a prime example!

Character Version

妈妈说:“今天能完成的事,不要留到明天。”

儿子回答:“好吧,把全蛋糕给我,我今天都吃光了吧。”

Pinyin Version

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

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

Translation:

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 Humour (HSK 3)

A clever joke that plays on the order of the alphabet, ABCD.

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 certain letters of the alphabet…. B and D

Translation:

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)

Chinese Joke #3: Marriage Advice (HSK2)

An inquisitive kid gets a true reality check at the cost of weddings!

Character Version

一个小孩儿问他的爸爸:“爸爸,结婚 需要 花 多少钱”

爸爸说:“儿子,我 不知道。 我 还在付款!”

Pinyin Version

yī gè xiǎo hái ér wèn tā de bà ba: “bà ba, jié hūn xū yào huā duō shǎo qián?”

bà ba shuō: “ér zi, wǒ bù zhī dào. Wǒ hái zài fù kuǎn!”

Translation:

A little kid asked his father: “Dad, how much does it cost to get married?”

The father said: “Son, I don’t know. I’m still paying!”

Mandarin Joke #4: Fruit Humour (HSK0)

Notice we switched from Chinese to Mandarin, but why?

Here’s why!

Back to basics with these two! No one need know any Mandarin to understand these. Simple is best, less is more! These were too fun not to share!

For the record the Mandarin is saying happy Birthday in Chinese 生日快乐, the poor old apple will never know!

Chinese + English = Chinglish : You Must See To Believe Thumbnail

Chinese + English = Chinglish : You Must See To Believe

Chinglish – The Ones You Have to See to Believe The equation is simple : Chinese + English = Chinglish But what is Chinglish? Let’s get a dictionary definition: Chinglish – A Dictionary Definition In a nutshell it’s a form…

Chinese Jokes – Memes

Memes appear to me all the rage online these dates, no matter what way you pronounce it!

In fact, there are so many we’ve not got one but TWO dedicated posts regarding Chinese Memes which are:

Here are some of our favourites across the two blogs!

Chinese Memes - HSK 1 to 6
是 links nouns - A useful point to remember when learning Chinese
Chinese Jokes - At the Bank
Chinese Mandarin Meme!

Chinglish in China

And just to wrap up, it wouldn’t be a blog of jokes without some Chinglish thrown in there.

For those of you who don’t know, the equation is simple

Chinese + English = Chinglish!

Again – we dedicated a whole blog towards Chinglish which you have to check out – 20 of the finest examples, but here are some of our favourites.

Don’t let the Chinese Jokes stop here!

We hope you enjoyed our series of Chinese jokes, videos, memes and the rest of it!

Ask your friends or Chinese teacher to share their favourite 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.

Chinese Humour – FAQ’s

Is Chinese Humour understood by Westerners?

As with any culture, learning the humour takes some time. You have to live here long enough to understand the humour, and of course learning the language helps.

A lot of Chinese humour is created online these days through Social Media and keeping up with these trends takes time and a fair amount of effort. Being immersed into China is the best way with helping understand the humour here.

What are the main differences between Western and Chinese Humour?

Taboo topics in Chinese humour can relate to personal life, the government and causing someone to lose face.

Sarcasm is one key aspect where opinion splits in Chinese culture. Some believe sarcastic comments and jokes go over the heads of Chinese whereas others claim the humour is the same. This very much depends on where you are in China, who you are interacting with etc. Lots of Chinese now expose themselves to Western TV culture, bridging the gap of humour and language.

Physical comedy is one thing in China that is not really considered so funny. Certain comedians use physical comedy as a key area to stand up comedy, this isn’t so in China.

How would a stand up comedian differ in China and the west?

Chinese audiences tend to enjoy a lack of facial expressions on stand up comedians. In the west, generally bigger responses come from a comedian who is more physical with their actions.

One of China’s top comedians 黄西 (huáng xī) Joe Wong famously did this at a stand up. “Hi, everybody… So, I’m Irish”. His facial expression was blank but he drew a huge response from his adoring audience.

In China crosstalk is hugely popular with the audience. Crosstalk is a fast and quite cheesy stand-up which normally includes singing and dancing.

What’s the best way to learn about Chinese Humour?

Learning the language from the start and being thrust into an all Chinese environment is the best way.

Humour and comedy, in any language, take quite some time to pick up. You’ll need to gain a basic understanding in the language first, before perhaps making local friends. This is a great way to boost your ability, talk about comedy and how it differs from your country. There is no substitute for being immersed in China.

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