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?

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 changed to 55. For example, 区分 is pronounced qu(45) fen(55).

In addition, the default tone values for the second tone (阳平), the third tone (上声) and the fourth tone (去声) are 21, 42 and 13, respectively. These are used when you read a single character. When they are combined with other characters, the following rules are followed:

3) If a second-stone character is followed by any other characters, its tone value is changed to 22 (from 21). For example, 可以 should be pronounced ke(22)yi(42). Still, when you hear recordings, you may not hear the flattening. So I feel this rule is not strict.

4) If a third-tone character is followed by any other characters, its tone value is changed to 44 (from 42). For example, 口音 should be read as kou(44)yin(55) by this rule. However, when listening to recordings, again I hear something like kou(43)yin(55). The falling tone is reduced but is still discernible. Further, the first tone of 音 is also read as 55 here.

You can find the above pronunciation yourself in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtauJBczNwA

In summary, I think there are two forms of tone values. One is the standard form, and another is a reduced form used in compound words. It should just come naturally.

The origin Chinese reference for this is:

成都话中,阴平、阳平、上声、去声的调值分别为45, 21, 42, 13。在单读一个字时,音调遵循以上所列。但在词汇与语句中连读时,会有一定规律的变调。




Reference: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%88%90%E9%83%BD%E8%AF%9D

  • Can you copy n paste the Chinese from the article that fits this? In case the article changes later. – Mou某 Jun 4 '15 at 7:05
  • Also, there are like 3 tone change rules listed. If you copy and translate them here, your answer will be really valuable to anyone searching about Sichuanese tone changes. – Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 4 '15 at 7:08
  • Sure. Done. I also looked at other sources. Consensus is that the default first tone for Sichuanese is 45. – Danke Xie Jun 4 '15 at 7:09
  • Some examples would be great. The rules are clear but hard to picture for people who doesn't speak Sichuanese. – NS.X. Jun 4 '15 at 7:24
  • All the materials I've looked through usually state the tones as 55, 21, 53, 213 - but in 巴适 the 巴 is more like 55, while in something like 读书 the 书 is more like 45. Which is confusing against these rules. – Mou某 Jun 4 '15 at 10:44

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