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Are there any initial consonants/syllables in modern Chinese dialects which are incompatible with some tones?

Can certain tones occur only in certain syllables (that is, within open or close ones)?

I am referring mainly to 普通话 (or 華語), but any other dialect will do

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Which Chinese dialect? And it may be better to add some examples. –  Stan Jun 22 '13 at 9:37
    
Yes, but it entirely depends on the dialect! –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 22 '13 at 19:35
    
I removed the "any dialect" requirement because this makes the question overly broad and practically unanswerable by one person. –  xiaohouzi79 Jun 27 '13 at 0:06
    
@xiaohouzi79 You have also deleted the reference to two dialects as well, which made the question no less broad and unanswerable by a.n.y. person. Besides, I don't suppose we have an excessive number of dialect speakers here. –  Manjusri Jun 27 '13 at 11:25
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2 Answers

Here's an example of this sort of phenomenon:

Syllables that begin with unaspirated stops b, d, g, or affricates j, zh, z, and end in a nasal n or ng, as a rule don’t have second-tone forms.

Here's a more extensive explanation of how this came about

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Are there more like this? –  juckele Jun 25 '13 at 18:13
    
Most chinese dialects have a different set of tones for "checked" or "closed" syllables. E.g., in Cantonese, tones 7, 8, and 9 only exist in syllables ending in -p, -t, and -k. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 25 '13 at 19:00
    
@StumpyJoePete: While Cantonese checked-tone syllables can be numbered separately (7/8/9) for historical reasons, in practice, they are pronounced the same as tones 1/3/6, respectively. In addition, due to 變音, they may even be pronounced in tone 2. –  Claw Jun 27 '13 at 2:59
    
@Claw So they are! Thanks for the info. Anyhow, it's easy to find other examples: In Shanghainese, all of the tones in words with a voiced initial are lower than (although the same "shape" as) the corresponding tones in words with unvoiced initials. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 27 '13 at 4:50
    
@StumpyJoePete: I suppose your Cantonese example isn't completely inapplicable. While the checked-tone syllables can be analyzed as having tones 1, 3, and 6, and can sometimes occur with 2, tones 4 and 5 are still disallowed; so you could say that Cantonese syllables ending in -p, -t, and -k never occur with tones 4 and 5. –  Claw Jun 27 '13 at 7:17
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The way I understand your question is:

When two characters have similar tones, like a third tone followed by a third tone, such as:

你好 Nǐ hǎo

Mandarin speakers tend to find it easier to say if they pronounce the first character as second tone, like:

Ní hǎo

Or two fourth tones will sound too harsh, like:

不对 Bùduì

The fourth tone on 不 will change to second tone for easier pronunciation.

Let me know if I misunderstood your question.

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Thank you for your answer, but I think that of Stumpy Joe Pete is closer to the initial intention of it. –  Manjusri Jun 23 '13 at 22:00
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