The pinyin for 生 is: shēng.

The pinyin for 先生 is: xiān​sheng​.

why does the tone change when it's part of a word?


1 Answer 1


The Chinese-speaking language prefers a sentence to have clear "low - hi" sounds between consecutive words for ease of pronouncing and listening. When two words in a phrase have the same tone, the second word is often pronounced shorter and faster (急促) with a lighter sound (輕聲). Therefore, 生 in 先(first tone)生(first tone) can be pronounced both as xiān​sheng​, and xiānshēng. Note the change of sound from normal tone to 輕聲 is not a rule, nor mandatory but a better practice.

將漢語中的音節弱化之後,聲調會變得又輕又短,此種音變即為輕聲。 輕聲的調值需要根據語境決定調值,所以輕聲音節不可能獨立存在。


第一聲+輕聲:釘子 叔叔 他的

第二聲+輕聲:鉗子 伯伯 誰的

第三聲+輕聲:剪子 姐姐 我的

第四聲+輕聲:刨子 妹妹 是的


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