tian ˩˧ ˧˩

What do these back to back tones mean?

Tone sandhi?

book should be here: book

  • I guess this is not Standard Mandarin, but what is it then?
    – imrek
    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:25
  • I'm not seeing tian ˩˧ ˧˩ in the text. Instead it looks like tian ˩˧ + another mark which is not a standard tone letter. Non-standard markings should be explained in the front matter somewhere. What dialect is it?
    – wpt
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:38
  • This is from 《四川邛崃油榨方言记》,there are pdfs floating around...
    – Mou某
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


The reversed tone letter is apparently one of the Modifier Tone Letters which do indeed indicate tone sandhi. I haven't yet come up with a pdf, but hazarding a guess, perhaps ˩˧ (low rising) is the recitation form and the reversed form is the sandhi form (low falling).

  • added a link for pdf in question, not sure if it works or not anymore.
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2016 at 11:31
  • Alas, no go for me.
    – wpt
    Jun 26, 2016 at 23:47
  • This is a fairly common way to notate and represent tone sandhi, especially in linguistic papers and dictionaries in Chinese, e.g. 福州话方言词典
    – Michaelyus
    Jun 28, 2016 at 16:56

˩˧ is a contraction for ˩ ˧, that is an extra low tone followed by a mid tone.

Similarly, ˧˩ is ˧ ˩, a mid tone followed by an extra low tone.

Such tone combinations exist in Hmong.



  • But that's two tones for one character....
    – Mou某
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:39
  • Yes, so the character has two tones. Not uncommon. In Mandarin, 好 has hǎo, hào and hāo, for example.
    – user4452
    Jun 24, 2016 at 12:47
  • Yeah, just like how the pinyin for 你好 is written nǐ hǎo hào hāo....
    – Mou某
    Jun 25, 2016 at 0:11
  • If not this, then it is a rising-falling tone, like the third tone in Mandarin, but opposite: ˨ ˩ ˦.
    – user4452
    Jun 25, 2016 at 20:51
  • Yes that's what I thought too but I think it would just be written in one fell swoop, like how you wrote the mandarin third time and not split in two.
    – Mou某
    Jun 26, 2016 at 8:04

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