My understanding for the pronunciation of 將 is 4th tone for verb (e.g. 將數百之衆,轉而攻秦) and 1st tone for noun (e.g. 將軍; 將 in 象棋).

So why is it that for 上將 as in 海軍上將, the character is in 4th tone? My hypothesis is that it is from the usage of 將領 as a noun without a change in tone?

3 Answers 3


Interesting question. Why change tone?

English is called a stress-timed language. In English, we often shift the stress to change from verb to noun as in:

v. produce, n. produce, v. refuse, n. refuse

I wonder if this is also generally true for Chinese? It is worth looking into.

"My understanding for the pronunciation of 將 is 4th tone for verb " you may be a little confused there.

jiāng has a lot of possibilities. Here are some.

  1. 快要:~要。~至。~来。即~。
  2. 带领,扶助:~雏。扶~。~军。
  3. 拿,持:~心比心。
  4. 把:~门关好。

jiàng does not have so many, but, for simple cases, it is nominal in nature.

 1. 军衔的一级,在校以上,泛指高级军官:~领。

 2. 统率,指挥:~百万之众。

This link has so many uses for 将 you could get dizzy! There is no clear distinction verb/noun -- jiāng/jiàng

btw is Vibius Vibidius Zosimus really your name?


Generally, in modern Chinese, 将 is a noun when it pronounced as jiàng, and a verb as jiāng.

However, in traditional Chinese, 将 jiàng could be used as verb, meaning 统率,指挥, leading as a general. Say, 将百万之众.

将 jiàng as a noun means 'senior general' or 'high-ranking officer' in military.

將軍 or 將 in 象棋 are pronounced as jiāng when it means to check (attacking to 將 jiàng). A chess man in 象棋 is called 將 jiàng as a noun.

將軍 or 将军 (jiāng), as a set, can also be a noun, meaning general or admiral.


in 廣韻, 將 has two pronunciations:

one is in volume 2, lower level tone (下平聲), 陽韻:


another one is in volume 4, departing tone (去聲), 漾韻:


according to the usage, difference tone was used for long time.

most of the time, when 將 is used as verb, adjective, or surname, it was pronounced as level tone.

when it was used as noun, in a military title, it was pronounced as departing tone.

have fun :)

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