According to Google Translate the Pinyin for 这个 is 'Zhège' but the Pinyin for 个 is 'Gè'. I've looked at several links referring to tone changes (e.g. here) but nothing I can find explains the different tone given to 个.

Could anyone clarify what is happening here? Thanks.

  • When someone say 'mountain', he may dismiss the 't', similar circumstance.
    – sfy
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 13:47
  • search site using "neutral tone", note esp. comments #1,3 of chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21092/…
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:35
  • It is not uncommon for characters to lose their tone in certain phrases. Surely you have come across the word 妈妈 which is pronounced māma, the two 妈 characters have different tones
    – Hugh
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:05
  • 个 in 这个 is pronounced slightly, no tunes applied. even if without 个 meanings of the statement is still complete. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 12:03

2 Answers 2


this is common in Chinese. it is called "neutral tone". some characters(个,么,着,了,etc) , when they are used at the end of a word or sentence, will change to "neutral tone": ge, me, zhe, le, etc. they will be pronounced in a brief/short way (sounds like the short version of the first tone) . Besides 这个, there are more: 看,知道,什,找不到


Finding where "words" begin and end in Chinese is more challenging than in languages that are written with spaces, in which case we generally adopt the convention that a "word" is what is separated by spaces (major exception: Vietnamese).

While most words 词 in Chinese will be two or more characters, people often talk about individual characters 字. Oftentimes, pinyin readings are presented as a series of character readings, rather than as guides to pronounce whole words.

In order to learn to pronounce Chinese as it is spoken, it is important to pay attention to words as they are spoken. Building up the pronunciation of a word by individual character pronunciations may work sometimes, but it is easier to get a more accurate pronunciation for some word by consulting a 词典 word dictionary (as opposed to a 字典 character dictionary) or, of course, by hearing the language in actual use.

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