Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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12
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3answers
1k views

Did ancient Chinese have tones (声调)?

This question has puzzled me since I have no training in ancient Chinese and ancient phonetics. What is puzzling me are the following facts: The tones in different regions are quite different. If ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Give further examples of morphological alternation patterns such as Verb/Noun (处 chu3 / chu4) and Active/Inactive Verb (好 hao4 / hao3)

In this answer, a few examples of morphological alternation patterns are provided, like Verb/Noun (e.g. 处 chu3 "to dwell" / chu4 "a place") and Active/Inactive Verb (e.g. 好 hao4 "to like" / hao3 "to ...
0
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2answers
64 views

Back to back tones for single character ˩˧ ˧˩?

tian ˩˧ ˧˩ What do these back to back tones mean? Tone sandhi? book should be here: book
1
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2answers
138 views

Question about the use of 中 (first or fourth tone)?

I'm unsure whether the 中 in this phrase is to be in the first or fourth tone: 吃得苦中苦,方为人上人. Also, what exactly does 方 mean in this saying? Thank you, Rachel
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Can I communicate without changing tones?

I'm not sure why this question has not been posted yet (I might have overlooked), but is it possible to communicate with native Chinese people even if you don't change its tones? For example, I only ...
23
votes
9answers
5k views

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I find it a great struggle to try and remember tones for all the new vocab I learn, and aside from gradually picking up tones by listening and talking with native speakers, I can't really remember ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

How do I pronounce romanised Chinese names which lack tone marks?

In the West, Chinese names almost never seem to be written using pinyin tone marks or numbers. For example, the current president's name will simply be written as Xi Jinping. I had to Google to ...
0
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1answer
75 views

Tips for pronunciating tone value “21”?

Any tips for pronunciating tone value "21"? It seems to be, fairly, common in Chinese topolects. Kind of hard to get a grasp on the whole starting low and dropping lower thing, though. Some have ...
3
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3answers
269 views

How can I improve my tonal range?

While people in China generally understand my tones (unless I use the wrong tone by mistake), I find I do not match either the height of their highs or the drop-off of their falling tones. My voice ...
0
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2answers
57 views

How can I memorise easily the four tones? [duplicate]

I am still trying to memorise tones of Chinese words. In another post I gave a link for 3rd tone words. When I will have written sentences that are easy to remember, I think I will succeed in fixing a ...
3
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2answers
219 views

Which is the most frequently used tone?

The most difficult for me in learning Chinese is memorizing the correct tone. I tried to find on web what the most frequently used tones are, but it seems to be hard to find. I suppose if one tone ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

How to pronounce 调 in 同调代数?

Certainly 同调代数 means the mathematical subject of homological algebra. But different sources disagree as to whether the first two characters in that sense of the term are pronounced tóngtiáo or ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

What difference(s) does it make to use the citation tone instead of the neutral tone, for the tail character in these words?

Here’s my list: 队伍, 成分, 身分, 才力, 呼噜, 亮堂, 好处, 种子, 妥当, 爽快, 痛快, 记性, 出息, 佩服, 分析, 哈欠, 寒毛, 活泼, 鼻涕, 道理, 滑稽, 考究, 讲究, 打算, 正经, 裁缝, 得罪, 意识 (and also意识 形态), 熟识, 见识, 体谅, 兴趣, [东/西/南/前/后/那/上/下/头/里/外/左/右]边, 知道, 父亲 and ...
3
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1answer
152 views

Bigrams ending in third tone where first syllable is second tone vs. third tone

This is regarding tone sandhi for consecutive third tones. I notice CC-CEDICT has over 200 bigrams with tone pair 3-3 where there also exists a separate bigram 2-3. One such example is: 白果 bai2 ...
5
votes
2answers
203 views

Neutral tone and erhua (儿化) working as a word distinguisher

I know there are some words in which the use of neutral tone distinguish them the word from their non neutral equivalent, like: 东西 - dong1xi1 - from east to west 东西 - dong1xi - thing 虾子 - xia1zi3 - ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Asterisks in Jyutping Cantonese

I have come across a couple of Cantonese words transliterated in Jyutping which had * in the tone number. For example, on CantoDict, the word 广东话 is transliterated as gwong2-dung1-waa6*2. What does ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Alternative notations for Cantonese tones

What is the list of diacritics used to denote the seven Cantonese tones (in pinyin or similar notation)? Is there a standard (or even, more common) convention?
1
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2answers
125 views

How to pronounce words with double fourth tones?

So I know for certain words, such as 不对, the fourth tone changes, but I believe 不 may be a special case. Some words such as 部队 seem uncomfortable to pronounce if I strictly follow 4th and 4th tones,...
4
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6answers
469 views

What is the best way to learn tones?

I still have difficulty to identify tones when I listen to Chinese. Moreover I have difficulty in saying second tone. Could you guys advice me some way to improve my tone?
4
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1answer
144 views

words where it is important to distinguish between the neutral tone and the citation tone

I'm working through the HSK vocab lists, and sometimes I find it hard to remember if a character should be pronounced with the neutral tone or with the citation tone. It would help if I knew when it'...
7
votes
5answers
308 views

Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone?

Quick question: Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone? If it is first tone, is this because it is being used as a number? Cheers, Stephen
14
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1answer
516 views

How do non-native speakers get to perceive tones in Chinese?

Recently I've been teaching an English-speaking friend some basics about Chinese, but inevitably he got stuck with the tones. I've demonstrated to him the 4 tones with audio files, yet it seems hard ...
6
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2answers
199 views

Which dialect of Chinese has the fewest tones?

Standard Cantonese has six tones, Minnan, spoken primarily in Taiwan and Fujian, has five to seven; and so on down to Mandarin, based on the Beijing dialect, which has only four. (I don't count ...
1
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2answers
161 views

Does Cantonese have a falling tone?

In all Cantonese romanization systems I could find, tone 4 is labelled the falling tone. However according to http://www.freehongkong.net/cantonese-pronunciation-cantonese-tones/ Cantonese does not ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

Mandarin Neutral Tone: Tone Value?

One of my dialectical dictionaries takes tone value 21 and compares it to Mandarin's neutral tone. The same tone, coincidentally enough, had been described in the same way to me by a local native ...
5
votes
1answer
943 views

Are tones sometimes glossed over?

To elaborate, although ni3 hao3 has a double third tone, when I hear native speakers say it, it's said so quickly that they definitely are not using that tone, nor is there feasibly time to use the ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

Sichuanese: When Is First Tone 55 Vs. 45?

55 and 45 are 调值 or tone values. The Sichuanese first tone is sometimes 55, like mandarin (high & flat), and sometimes a rising 45. Sichuanese: When Is First Tone 55 Vs. 45?
1
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4answers
861 views

Pinyin to Chinese characters

I'm trying to learn Chinese from books, online tutorials, but mostly from Rosetta Stone. I'm just starting, so there's still a lot I'm probably not understanding - so I don't know if I'm even asking ...
7
votes
2answers
146 views

Tone sandhi before a toneless final syllable

In the name Kongzi, 孔子, it seems to me that people often pronounce Kong with third tone (low-falling form) and zi with no tone, like a lot of final syllables. Officially both syllables are third tone....
9
votes
1answer
230 views

How does tone sandhi apply in people's names?

Like the title says, the question is simple: what's the proper way to handle tone sandhi in names? Is there something like "pronounce the family name as-is, apply tone sandhi to given name"? Or is ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Why the change in tones of the words in some phrases?

I am a native Cantonese speaker. I found that we have to change the tones of some words, when used in particular phrases. But I don't know why. It seems that it doesn't follow any "rules of changing ...
5
votes
1answer
311 views

Zhuyin IME setting to make tones optional

When I type Chinese via a Pinyin IME, I can write "nihao" to get "你好". Writing out "ni3hao3" is not required. But when I try to write "ㄋㄧㄏㄠ", the IME interprets this as "ㄏㄧㄠ". Basically I'm forced to ...
10
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6answers
614 views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
8
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7answers
2k views

What software can correct pronunciation?

What software is available which can record my voice and warn me about problems with my pronunciation and tones?
3
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6answers
396 views

Learning abstract “tone contours” for words and phrases

I'm having trouble acquiring both Mandarin pronunciation and tones (hampered by the opacity of Pinyin for beginners). I've learned various languages to various degrees and some people consider me to ...
27
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5answers
3k views

Can native Chinese speakers distinguish tones in songs?

I already have a hard time distinguishing tones in normal speech. This gets significantly worse when I listen to Chinese songs, since the melody masks tones even further. Yes, I understand that ...
3
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1answer
264 views

Cantonese sandhi

In Mandarin, there is limited tone sandhi, mainly about third tones and the tone variations of yi1 (one) and bù (not). By contrast, Min has sandhi rules for all tones, as illustrated by this diagram. ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Tones in Cantonese: 6 or 9?

Wikipedia has a tone contour chart for Cantonese with only 6 tones, but the table just below has 9. In fact, the table states 7=1, 8=3 and 9=6. From a historical point of view, there are 9 tone ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

Tone three sandhi

If there are two third tones in a row, e.g. ni3hao3, the first one is pronounced as a second tone, i.e. ni3hao3=ni2hao3. At least, that's what I was told in a course. What happens with more ...
3
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3answers
117 views

Duration of tones in Chinese?

What are the durations of tones in Mandarin? Do all tones have the same exact duration? Other dialects can be noted as examples...
4
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1answer
135 views

What are these tonal markings called?

Below are four tonal markings for 四川话: with a tone value of 55 (first tone) with a tone value of 21 (second tone) with a tone value of 53 (third tone) with a tone value of 213 (fourth tone) ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Where does the 4th tone go on wan3shang (evening)?

I see the character for evening are wan3 and shang4, but when the word is written in pinyin, the fourth tone disappears from shang and it becomes neutral. I've read the rules of tone change but I don'...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Tone Sandhi: Sichuanese 四川话

Been trying to find the rules of tone sandhi in Sichuanese - but not having a lot of luck. Wikipedia Talk:Sichuanese Mandarin Tone Sandhi Great improvements to the original article! Can we ...
3
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1answer
106 views

Yale tone marks and low-level 'h' for vowel-less syllables

For tone-marked Yale, the tone mark goes over the first vowel and then (for tones 4,5,6) an 'h' is placed after the last vowel. But what about the syllables without any vowels: hm, hng, m, ng ? I'm ...
6
votes
2answers
479 views

What are the rules of writing a 对联 (chinese couplet)?

I have looked at the wikipedia article "Couplet (Chinese Poetry)", but I think it poses more questions than answers. So a 对联 (duì lián) is a "Chinese couplet". it is composed of two lines each line ...
6
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4answers
2k views

How to convert from hanyu pinyin to IPA?

Where can I find a table showing the relation between Hanyu pinyin spelling and IPA for all phonemes in Mandarin?
5
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7answers
1k views

Accidentally Saying Chinese Swear Words

So I saw a video on youtube about a guys experience in china. He said that people can often accidentally say swear words if they say the tones wrong. Like the word "ma" It can heard as mother but 'ma'...
13
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3answers
267 views

Character Pronunciation Clues

Is there any way to know what a character's pronunciation or tone is, based on the strokes or radicals that make up the characters?
8
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3answers
370 views

What's the pronunciation of 不在乎

All the dictionaries I've checked say bu4 zai4 hu5 but should it actually be bu2 zai4 hu5 I get different answers searching for 不对, some dictionaries say bu4dui4 others bu2dui4, but as ...
2
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2answers
2k views

tones when singing a chinese song? [duplicate]

if tones are so important in chinese as to even distinguish shades of meaning, how can a chinese sing a song? in music every syllable has its own note/tone, so when we sing a song, we must disregard ...