Questions tagged [tones]

Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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When to use 对 and 对不对

So firstly I must apologise as I am about two weeks into a Duolingo course - so I would say my understanding of the language is near enough 0. However, I wanted to ask if someone could clarify some ...
BCE's user avatar
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1 answer
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Mandarin music with clear speech tones

As discussed in other questions, in a lot of Mandarin music the spoken. tones get lost which make it hard to understand or use for learning. Is there any well-known Mandarin music or music artists ...
Burrough Clarke's user avatar
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3 answers
331 views

Pronouncing two words with same pronunciation(homophones)

As a beginner, the thing I realized is there is a lot of word with the same pronunciation and Chinese is almost full of homophone words. For example: 良, 量, 凉, 粮, 踉 all have the same pronunciation: ...
user123960's user avatar
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2 answers
151 views

Fourth-tone 好 used as a complete stand-alone sentence to express agreement, a bit like "OK" or 行

While watching a TV series called 奈何BOSS要娶我 / Well-Intended Love I was struck by the way 好 is pronounced (*) when used as a complete stand-alone sentence to express agreement. It sounds to me much ...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
737 views

Is the 累 in 拖累 third or fourth tone?

My textbook (《新实用汉语课本5》 p.16) gives the 累 in 拖累 a fourth tone: tuōlèi​ but other dictionaries (e.g., CC-CEDICT) ascribe 累 a third tone: tuō​lěi​. I feel like it's a bug in the textbook, but maybe ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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3 answers
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Recognition of tones during listening

Is it only me, or whenever you listen to whole sentences or dialogues you barely can recognize the tones too?... If that's true, then there are two implications. Either chinese people are not so ...
Stephanos97's user avatar
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1 answer
82 views

What about all the possible combinations of tones?

There 4 tones: 1: 5-5 2: 3-5 3: 2-1-4 4: 5-1 For improving my Chinese and out of pure interest, I want to hear all the possible combinations: 5-5, 5-4, 5-3, 5-2, 5-1, 4-5, 4-4...., I think totally 25 ...
Konstantinos's user avatar
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2 answers
147 views

Hearing difference between 那里 and 哪里

Of course it is the fate of any native speaker of English to struggle with tones. And I suppose I should be happy I have begun with Mandarin, which is far less extravagant in its tone system than are ...
Paul Tanenbaum's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
380 views

Are there any patterns for which tone is used for each Mandarin character?

From both a practical learning perspective and an interest in linguistics, I want to know whether there are any common patterns or "rules of thumb" that influence which tone is assigned to ...
ybull's user avatar
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How do you find an octave that works for speaking

I recently started self-studying Mandarin. Most of the spoken resources available to me use female voices and when I try to imitate their pronunciation and tones I speak in a much higher voice than ...
peppyb's user avatar
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Seems google 翻译 pronouncing in wrong way

好久不见。 下午 我 会 去 超市。 Xiàwǔ wǒ huì qù chāoshì. The problem is that the last pinyin which should be pronounced like "shu" in English but Google-translate(android app) actually pronounce it as ...
TG24's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
277 views

jiu3 pronounced as jiu4 ; linked speech feature or slip of the tongue?

Here is the intonation that is recorded in an instructional video for the clause 我已经很久都不过中秋节了 (wǒ yǐjīng hěn jiǔ dōu bú guò zhōngqiūjié le). 久 is very prominently pronounced with a descending ...
Papa Smurf's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
175 views

What's the equivalent of "nice" (said like the Reddit meme) in Chinese?

How do I say "nice" as a response, in a kind of positive, "that's cool" tone, in Chinese? Like how it's said on Reddit (or elsewhere on the internet) as a response to the numbers ...
Rick's user avatar
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1 vote
6 answers
299 views

What tone is 什 in 什么 in standard northern accent 普通话?

All dictionary entries put 什么 as shen2me0, but I am quite sure that in fluid speech I've only ever heard shen3me0. What's going on here? Is this a dialect/regional accent thing? For context, I grew up ...
Buddy L's user avatar
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2 answers
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Is the neutral tone of 吗 pronounced differently than other neutral-tone syllables in the same context?

I've always taught students that there is no question tone in Chinese like there is in English, in order to help them avoid pronouncing their questions with a rising tone at the end (like we do in ...
Buddy L's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
130 views

why does 生 and 先生 have different tones when it's part of a word?

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?
mrzulu9000's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
468 views

Is there research regarding the link between Chinese tones and musical intervals?

I am using a spectrogram to find the frequency contours in Hz of the different tones that are present in Chinese, and trying to compare this to musical intervals to see if there is actually a musical ...
Buddy L's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
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Is the number 4 really considered unlucky because it sounds similar to the word for "death"?

From what I've Googled so far, there are lots of claims that the number 4 is considered unlucky in Chinese. 四 is understandably considered unlucky in Japanese and Korean because it sounds identical to ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
524 views

Where to put the tone mark in pinyin

In pinyin the tone mark (diacritical mark) only goes on vowels. If there is only one vowel in a character's pinyin then the answer is easy, the tone mark just goes on the vowel. For example: 思 sī, 于 ...
F Chopin's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
599 views

Converting pinyin with tones into chinese characters

Does anybody know how to convert pinyin with tone marks back into chinese characters. I am using www.branah.com/chinese-to-pinyin to convert the characters to pinyin but cannot find a way to do the ...
montyBoi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
81 views

Tonal evolution of 俘?

Looking at the character『俘』 In Soutwestern Mandarin it takes 阴平: 《现代汉语方言音库 • 成都话音档》 俘 fu⁵⁵ In Cantonese it looks to also take 阴平: (Jyutping): fu1 Hokkien, also, maybe 阴平: /hu⁴⁴/. I'm seeing ...
Mou某's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
172 views

Why is the first tone less common after m, n, r, l?

In Gwoyeu Romatzyh (国语罗马字), the first tone uses the basic spelling except when the initial is a sonorant (响音) m, n, l, r. For example, ba (八) bar (跋) baa (把) bah (爸) Sonorants mark the first tone by ...
Greg Nisbet's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
89 views

这里的“奠过茶饭”和“大家见过”中的“过”应该读第四声还是轻声?(Is this “过” supposed to be read with the fourth tone, or the neutral tone?)

Question: “奠过茶饭”和“大家见过”中的“过”应该读第四声还是轻声? 对于这里的“过”的意义与声调,好像只有两种可能,它们是: 1、表示动作完毕的轻声的“过” 2、表示人或物随动作跨越时空的第四声的“过” 请看其原文: 原来这馒头庵就是水月庵,因他庙里做的馒头好,就起了这个浑号,离铁槛寺不远。当下和尚工课已完,奠过茶饭,贾珍便命贾蓉请凤姐歇息。凤姐见还有几个妯娌陪着女亲,自己便辞了众人,...
dry_apricot_09's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
95 views

“说不上好”的标准读音是什么?(What is the standard tone structure for "说不上好"?)

Question: 根据《现代汉语规范词典》和《汉语大词典》,按照“说不上好”中的“不”字的意义,如果单独念该字的话,就定要念作第四声。“说不上好”中的“上”字则读作轻声。把整句读起来,由于“上”字轻声,“不”字不要因为后面有第四声的字而读作第二声。整句各字的声调按顺序就是这样:1-4-5-3。 然而,我在日常生活中听过很多次别人以“1-2-4-3”的声调结构说出这句话,...
dry_apricot_09's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
258 views

Tools for self study of Mandarin pronunciation

I am interested in self-study resources to improve my mandarin pronunciation (improve pinyin syllables and also tone pronunciation). There are many resources to self study writing/reading skills here ...
User981636's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
88 views

How pronunce " 小打小闹 " in 我的一点成就 不过是小打小闹?

I am sorry that this question doesn't answer to the case of four consecutive third tones, especially in what Wenlin dictionary calls "Fixed Expression"? How should I apply what is written in ...
faure's user avatar
  • 610
2 votes
0 answers
76 views

How to subconsciously pronounce tones when speaking? [closed]

When going through my flashcard deck, I can frequently get the tones right for the cards. Equally, when reading a text aloud or slowly speaking, I can generally hit the tones accurately. However, when ...
Destaq's user avatar
  • 125
-2 votes
2 answers
326 views

Longest sentence where all consecutive characters are in the same 3ʳᵈ tone [closed]

What is the longest sentence that can be constructed where all the consecutive characters are in the same 3ʳᵈ tone in Mandarin? I'm sure many people have heard of '请你给我买五百把纸雨伞', but are there any more ...
Joe at wearyourchinesename.com's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
165 views

Hakka (Sixian dialect) issue: some characters with a rising tone (上聲)

I found that most of the characters that used to have a sonorant initial and a rising tone in Middle Chinese are pronounced in either rising tone or dark level tone(陰平) in modern Hakka language: Dark ...
hmje's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
174 views

很有 pronounced rather like hěnyòu instead of hěnyǒu

In an intermediate level class (B1 or B2 level perhaps / around HSK 5 or 6), several example sentences were used to illustrate some vocabulary. The teacher, a native speaker with fairly standard ...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
148 views

Is it true that the tones of some of the most common words are glossed over in regular speech/turn into neutral tone?

Examples include: 是、去、在、要、就、但、没有、如果 Not sure how to back up this question, except to mention that I've received feedback from natives that I tend to overdo these words' pronunciations (especially 是). ...
MuchAppreciated25's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
244 views

How are consecutive neutral tones pronounced? What are the pitch levels?

I understand how neutral tones are supposed to sound following regular-numbered tones Here is a helpful Wikipedia chart illustrating how the preceding tone impacts the neutral tone But what about ...
MuchAppreciated25's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
114 views

Have these two words 牵 and 千, 感 and 敢 the same tone?

Google Translate shows the same phonetic annotation Qiān. Have these two words the same tone, the high tone ā? 牵 Qiān = Hold (hand), Lead (by hand) 千 Qiān = Thousand Google Translate shows the same ...
O Connor's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
287 views

How the 4 tones originated?

My native language does not have tones. Why tones are part of Chinese language? How the tones were started initially? Is it because they do not have so many words? In my native language full sentences ...
user27485's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
305 views

How do natives pronounce the 2nd tone in regular conversation? (Pitch levels: 35, 33, or 434?)

In the thread Do tones change at the end of an interrogative sentence? , one of the answers asserts: SCALE KEY: 1 (low) to 5 (high). So 55 is a high level tone, 51 is a falling tone, 35 is rising, ...
MuchAppreciated25's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
241 views

What is the proper pronunciation of 等等?

Is 等等 pronounced: deng2deng0 (2nd tone and neutral) like 老子、孔子 OR deng3 deng0 (3rd tone and neutral) like 椅子、法子
MuchAppreciated25's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
219 views

Why are there different pronunciations of 复杂?

During a Chinese class, a student pronounced 复杂 as fu3za2, instead of the official pronunciation fu4za2. The Chinese teacher corrected the student but then mentioned many native speakers pronounce it ...
雪花飘飘's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
545 views

To display a correct pinyin in a web page what font should i use

I have the line <link href="https:/ /fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Ma+Shan+Zheng&display=swap" rel="stylesheet"> to display a nice font for Chinese characters, which ...
faure's user avatar
  • 610
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

How do I pronounce 用勿着 in Shanghainese?

There isn't a pronunciation for it on Wiktionary, and I don't know whether it is a fossilised or an analysable phrase, so therefore I don't know whether or not right-prominent tone sandhi applies. My ...
Cookie Dough's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
363 views

What is the meaning of the tone numbers shown in Wiktionary's Mandarin pronunciation?

According to Wiktionary, the word 游泳 is pronounced as /joʊ̯³⁵ jʊŋ²¹⁴⁻²¹⁽⁴⁾/. What exactly is the meaning of the numbers 214-21(4)? The first three numbers indicate the standard falling then rising ...
Shark's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
604 views

Bù kèqi or Bú kèqi: In PinYin, do I write the fourth or second tone with 不客气?

When writing 不客气 in (PinYin): 不 = Bù 不客气 = Bù kèqi Because of the fourth tone of kè the pronunciation is Bú kèqi. But do i write it down as Bù kèqi or Bú kèqi?
Apotacyll's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
207 views

Reading of 匙 meaning “key” (as in 钥匙)

Essentially the same as this question, but the solutions there don't seem applicable here. Both isolated and in compounds, I can only find 匙 as either shi⁰ or chi² “spoon”. Can this character in this ...
gnucchi's user avatar
  • 247
0 votes
1 answer
150 views

Why does 人 have a different tone when it's part of the word 大人?

The pinyin for 人 is rén but when it's part of 大人, it's written as dà ren. This is the only word with 人 where that happens (at least in the list of words I went through). Why is there a change in tone?
Matte's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
128 views

In Mandarin Chinese, what is the correct pronunciation for three or more third tones in a row? [duplicate]

只有我想了解你 zhíyǒu wǒ xiǎng liáojiě nǐ OR Zhíyǒu wó xiǎng liáojiě nǐ 我很好 wǒ hén hǎo OR wó hén hǎo 我也很好 wó yě hén hǎo OR wó yé hén hǎo OR wǒ yé hén hǎo 我也很想你 wǒ yé hěn xiáng nǐ OR wǒ yé hén xiǎng nǐ ...
user12765463's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
306 views

Tone of 和 in 暖和

For words like 衣服 and 朋友, we can pronounce either with full tones as yi¹fu² and peng²you³, or with neutralized tones of the second syllable like yi¹fu⁰ and peng²you⁰. Then comes 暖和 which confuses me. ...
gnucchi's user avatar
  • 247
4 votes
2 answers
134 views

What are the tones for 不 and 一 in the expression 不一定?

不 and 一 both have the property of changing tone to suit the tone of the following character. This phenomenon is called the tonal sandhi. What would the correct/standard tone combination for this ...
Kantura's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
187 views

Do native English speakers naturally speak in the 4th tone?

I've been scratching my head for quite a while now because I've been trying way to hard to pronounce words in the 4th tone. I understand how it's supposed to work (with tone decreasing) but it felt ...
小奥利奥's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
267 views

Does pronunciation of a vowel change with tones?

As it is extremely hard to find a good online summary of all Pinyin pronunciation rules, I am listening the sounds in a Pinyin chart: https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php . I have read ...
Alan Evangelista's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
192 views

曲子 pronunciation

I'm usually confused with the light tone thing. Here I have the word 曲子 which according to the Internet should be pronounced as qǔzi. However, I have heard some people pronounce it as qū (1st tone) zǐ ...
Nephilim's user avatar
  • 701
1 vote
2 answers
124 views

Should the second character in 回来了 be pronounced with second or fourth tone?

I almost always hear 来 pronounced as lài in 回来了, but are there any rules of tone sandhi that account for this?
K Man's user avatar
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