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I would like a translation in putonghua for “tone contour” as in “the tone contour of 普通话 is 314”

I found two terms:

  • 声调轮廓 from CC-CEDICT
  • 音调曲线 from ABC dictionary

Are either (or both?) of these what I'm looking for?

Additional remarks, 2021-08-03

I now see that "tone contour" is not a good description of the concept I had in mind. I now believe tone sequence is a better term. The idea is based on the standard representation of tones in Chinese (1 - 4, with 5 for the neutral tone).

For instance, as the word 普通话 is made up of a 3rd tone 普, followed by a 1st tone 通, followed by a 4th tone 话, we can say its tone sequence is 314. Other examples: 调值:42,幸福:42,很好:33,一帆风顺:1114

I believe we could translate "tone sequence" with a new term, 调序列. Is this a good translation?

We could say, for example: “调序列”的调序列是444 / The tone sequence for “调序列” is 444.

I have decided to change the title of this question accordingly (the previous title was: what's the term for “tone contour”?).

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Only the first one is correct (聲調輪廓), as a jargon used in linguistics. The second one is a (bad) word-for-word translation of tone (音調) + contour (曲綫).

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I saw your question accidently on the website. I'm Chinese and I think there is a term '调值' matches the meaning with 'tone contour' in English.

Here is the meaning of Chinese '调值':

调值 [ diào zhí ] 声调的高低升降的实际读音。一般用五度标记法表示,用1、2、3、4、5依次表示从最低到最高的相对高度。如普通话的阴平是高平调,调值是55,阳平是高升调,调值是35,上声是降升调,调值是214,去声是高降调,调值是51。

It means the pitch of the tone. They use 1-5 to express the relative pitch.

Your sentence 'the tone contour of 普通话 is 314' may be translated as '普通话的调值是314'. (I guess you want to say a certain tone in Mandarin Chinese like 'The tone contour of the third tone in Putonghua is 214', which may be translated as '普通话第三声的调值是214'.)

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    调值 is an interesting term and is indeed related to this topic; thank you. However it isn't the right term to describe the concept I had in mind, which I now see is not very well described by "tone contour". What I was trying to describe is simply the "sequence of tones" or "tone sequence", based on the standard representation of tones in Chinese (1 - 4, with 5 for the neutral tone).//As the word 普通话 is made up of a 3rd tone for 普 followed by a 1st tone for 通 followed by a 4th tone for 话, we can say its tone sequence is 314. Other examples: 调值:42,幸福:42,很好:33,一帆风顺:1114//I will update my question Aug 3 at 9:27
  • @goPlayerJuggler I got you and, that term might be "声调" in Chinese. For example "The tone of '普' is the 3rd tone", "'普'的声调是三声". We don't just use numbers to describe it. You can hardly see a sentence like "'普通话'的声调是314", but "‘普通话’的声调是三声、一声和四声". By the way, while describing the tone, besides using the numbers like "一声、二声、三声、四声", we also describe them as "阴平、阳平、上声、去声", inherited from ancient years.
    – Ludo
    Aug 7 at 5:50

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