In 我给你买。 The four are 3rd tones. What rule is applied here? 3+3 = 2+3 ? and being "wo2gei3ni2mai3? Or it use another rule like; 3+3+3 (being individual characters) = 2+2+3 and sound something like "wo2gei2ni3mai3"

  • probably 3-2-2-3
    – fefe
    Feb 10 at 6:18

1 Answer 1


我给你买 can be break in three parts (called prosodic words), 我/给你/买.

Tone sandhi should first be considered with a prosodic word, so 给 should be gei2.

Then, at the boundary of different prosodic words, 给你/买, 你 should be changed to ni2 as 买 is also the third tone.

However, at 我/给你, as 给 has already become 2nd, the third tone might be kept. This gives 3-2-2-3. It is also possible the 我 also changes to the second tone, which gives 2-2-2-3.

  • 1
    Agreed. Just wanted to add that, based my experience as a native speaker, in practice whether it's 3-2-2-3 or 2-2-2-3 depends on the context and the speaker's emphasis: if 我is emphasized (or maybe more accurately not de-emphasized) or overall the tone is a little serious and slow, then it would be 3-2-2-3. If the emphasis is on 买, or overall the sentence is less serious (more informal & colloquial) and fast, then it should 2-2-2-3.
    – ALife
    Feb 10 at 16:01
  • 1
    As usual, rate of speech is important here. Generally speaking, the faster someone speaks, the most likely 2-2-2-3 is.
    – Olle Linge
    Feb 11 at 8:32
  • I'm confused about the 1st sentence in the last paragraph: "However, at 我/给你, as 给 has already become 2nd, the third tone might be kept." Is there a general rule? Would it be possible to give more examples of cases where tone sandhi is not applied? Feb 11 at 8:52
  • 1
    @goPlayerJuggler Hi, the general rule is that two 3rd tones cannot be pronounced in succession. In both 2223 and 3223 we don't have any 33. In theory, four 3rd tones can also be pronounced 2323, but in this case we have in the middle the closely connected characters 给 and 你 to which is given precedence. Feb 11 at 21:59

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