New answers tagged tones
I can't really give you insight, as I am not a polyglot. But, I do have a Mandarin Chinese resource for you: http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com You can learn characters (simplified AND traditional), how to write them, the meanings they have next to other characters, and also how to speak Chinese phrases and sentences.
I use my fingers whenever I say the character. Tone 1 -- index finger Tone 2 -- middle finger Tone 3 -- ring finger Tone 4 -- pinky Tone 5/neutral tone -- thumb I also use color-coding, just as the others have shared.
When you are talking about 成都话, the first tone (阴平) follows the following rules: 1) The regular case for the first tone is 45. When you are reading a single character, you should use 45. 2) When the character is part of a phrase or a sentence, it may change. Specifically, when a first tone character A is preceded by another first tone character B, A is ...
I think you should buy a beginners 'learn Chinese' book, like HSK 1 thro 3. It will have pinyin typed above the characters, with the tone marks. Even Chinese children have pinyin in their books. Whatever input method you are using, you can then start typing characters, and so familiarize yourself with typing Chinese. Internet translators are notoriously bad. ...
You kind of hit a snag without knowing Chinese characters (hanzi), because there are so many homophones in chinese, especially without tones. In your example of 吗 and 马, they both have different tones which you don't type at all, and actually typing ma for me gives about 15 different characters to choose from. In fact, even words like 终止 and 中止 sound ...
I suggest that you shouldn't do this. Chinese characters cannot be faithfully constructed backwards from a tone+syllable combination -- the mapping only goes one way (and even then, sometimes characters have multiple pronunciations). For example, as you know, 馬 is generally pronounced ma3. However, ma3 could also reference the characters 碼 (number), or 獁 ...
This is why you have to learn the actual characters first, and read and write in the actual characters. Pinyin helps indicate the pronunciation, nothing more. There is no tool that can help you distinguish between hundreds of characters equally represented by one string of Roman letters.
Whenever you are in 荥经省, you may use 45 instead of 55. Wikipedia says so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuanese_Mandarin
Top 50 recent answers are included