Questions tagged [tones]

Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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2 votes
4 answers
99 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 ...
  • 21
0 votes
4 answers
93 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
65 views

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 ...
  • 688
3 votes
1 answer
96 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?
3 votes
1 answer
297 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 ...
  • 688
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
2 votes
4 answers
182 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
199 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
79 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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
143 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
85 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,...
1 vote
2 answers
93 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,...
1 vote
4 answers
158 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
85 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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
67 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 ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
199 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
121 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
150 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
133 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). ...
5 votes
3 answers
212 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 ...
-4 votes
1 answer
101 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
197 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 ...
  • 645
2 votes
2 answers
219 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, ...
3 votes
2 answers
210 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
5 votes
2 answers
190 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
302 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
134 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
295 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
311 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?
2 votes
3 answers
198 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 ...
  • 237
0 votes
1 answer
123 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?
  • 121
2 votes
1 answer
98 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
284 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. ...
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4 votes
2 answers
119 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
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6 votes
3 answers
246 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
182 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
108 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?
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2 votes
5 answers
139 views

Help with tones?

Before I jump into the question, a bit of context for my situation: I'm in Mandarin 1 currently in HS, about 7 months in from the beginning of the school year, and I'm having some problems. According ...
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

How to pronounce several consecutive '“三声” characters? [duplicate]

It is known that the first character in a two-"三声"-character word is prounounced as "二声"。For example, 勇敢 (ㄩㄥˇ ㄍㄢˇ)is usually pronounced as "(ㄩㄥˊ ㄍㄢˇ)". How about when in a sentence there are some ...
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3 votes
1 answer
894 views

On Linux, how do I output Chinese Characters (not pinyin) using tones in the input

I would like to be able to input tone alongside the pronunciation in order to input Chinese characters on Linux (e.g. ta1 = 他, ta2 = 蹹, ta3 = 塔, ta4 = 踏). Most modern IMEs do not allow this input ...
1 vote
1 answer
96 views

Where can I find a collection of samples of Mandarin spoken words, annotated with pinyin and tones?

I recently built the following app that lets you listen to a Chinese word and asks tests your tone hearing ability: https://tones.strokes.ovh/ I'd like to extend it, but in order to get there I need ...
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5 votes
2 answers
366 views

Do you change your voice when you're surprised, unsure etc. in Mandarin?

In English you sometimes pronounce words in very different pitches/tones to express your emotions. For example when you're offended, surprised or when being sarcastic. Depending on the situation you ...
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1 vote
1 answer
87 views

Example of stress or tone on a consonant

Wondering if there is such thing as stress on a consonant, e.g. t́, ĺ, ḿ, ś, ʃ́... If so, what the example language would be. I haven't seen any on Wikipedia. Same thing for tone, I haven't seen ...
  • 725
5 votes
4 answers
708 views

How modern Chinese singing works if Chinese has tones

Since Chinese is a tonal language, I'm wondering how this affects Chinese singing. Specifically wondering about the modern Chinese version of modern American pop music, which has relatively simple ...
  • 725
5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Where can I find a full list of combinations of sounds and tones used in Chinese?

I heard that there are roughly 400 sounds in Mandarin plus four tones. Are all combinations of those used in Chinese vocabulary, making it 1600 possibilities per single-sound word? If not, how many ...
  • 543
2 votes
2 answers
131 views

Do all syllables occur in all tones?

For example, ne and nè are words. But there are no nē, né, or ně. I tried to Google this but I don't find any references to it. It's obviously not by final, because kē, ké, and kě all exist. Is ...
1 vote
2 answers
96 views

Pronunciation/tones for hug (擁抱): yong1 bao4 or yong3 bao4?

CantoDict and yellowbridge say the pronunciation for 擁抱 is yong1 bao4. However, Google Translate and other pages say it's yong3 bao4. What's the right pronunciation?
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7 votes
4 answers
149 views

What tone is 杆 in 扶杆?

According to pleco 杆 in the third tone means shaft or arm, while in the first tone it means pole or staff. 扶杆 is in one of our exercises. It is not contained in any of the pleco dictionaries I own (...
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5 votes
2 answers
275 views

How can we translate the term "tone sequence"?

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 ...