Questions tagged [tones]

Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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1 vote
6 answers
139 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 ...
14 votes
8 answers
1k views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
253 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 ...
2 votes
4 answers
109 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
69 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
220 views

Tone Change: Why is 欢 (huan1) in 喜欢 (xi3huan0) pronounced with a neutral tone? Would you do that for all words ending in a first tone?

Or the 西 (xi1) in 东西 (dong1xi0) is pronounced with no tone?
3 votes
1 answer
99 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?
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

What software can correct pronunciation?

What software is available which can record my voice and warn me about problems with my pronunciation and tones?
3 votes
1 answer
321 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 ...
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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
257 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 ...
2 votes
4 answers
204 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 ...
-2 votes
2 answers
204 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 ...
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 ...
1 vote
4 answers
164 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
80 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
996 views

How do I pronounce romanised Chinese names which lack tone marks?

In the West, Chinese names almost never seem to be written using pinyin tone marks or numbers. For example, the current president's name will simply be written as Xi Jinping. I had to Google to ...
3 votes
2 answers
145 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 ...
33 votes
13 answers
15k views

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I find it a great struggle to try and remember tones for all the new vocab I learn, and aside from gradually picking up tones by listening and talking with native speakers, I can't really remember ...
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
94 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,...
6 votes
2 answers
17k views

tones when singing a chinese song? [duplicate]

if tones are so important in chinese as to even distinguish shades of meaning, how can a chinese sing a song? in music every syllable has its own note/tone, so when we sing a song, we must disregard ...
3 votes
3 answers
573 views

Cantonese jyutping Tone 4 question "throat should be vibrating"

I was wondering whether anyone could help me distinguish how to pronounce tone 4 (mostly low flat) and tone 3 (mid flat). I read in tone 4, you should feel your throat vibrate. Honestly, I have my ...
0 votes
1 answer
86 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Generalize consecutive third tones change rule

井井有条​ (to be neat and tidy) we have a sequence of the third tones. Why is it pronounced as jing2 jing2 you3 tiao2 and not jing2 jing3 you3 tiao2 After all, the first half goes together, and the ...
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Zhuyin IME setting to make tones optional

When I type Chinese via a Pinyin IME, I can write "nihao" to get "你好". Writing out "ni3hao3" is not required. But when I try to write "ㄋㄧㄏㄠ", the IME interprets this as "ㄏㄧㄠ". Basically I'm forced to ...
2 votes
0 answers
69 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
151 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
279 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
282 views

What happens with tone sandhi with consecutive third tones, e.g. wo3 hen3 hao3?

If there are two third tones in a row, e.g. ni3hao3, the first one is pronounced as a second tone, i.e. ni3hao3=ni2hao3. At least, that's what I was told in a course. What happens with more ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Cantonese sandhi

In Mandarin, there is limited tone sandhi, mainly about third tones and the tone variations of yi1 (one) and bù (not). By contrast, Min has sandhi rules for all tones, as illustrated by this diagram. ...
2 votes
1 answer
128 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 ...
15 votes
4 answers
395 views

Character Pronunciation Clues

Is there any way to know what a character's pronunciation or tone is, based on the strokes or radicals that make up the characters?
1 vote
1 answer
134 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
219 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 ...
11 votes
3 answers
500 views

words where it is important to distinguish between the neutral tone and the citation tone

I'm working through the HSK vocab lists, and sometimes I find it hard to remember if a character should be pronounced with the neutral tone or with the citation tone. It would help if I knew when it'...
-4 votes
1 answer
103 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
224 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, ...
2 votes
2 answers
206 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 ...
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
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are the rules of writing a 对联 (chinese couplet)?

I have looked at the Wikipedia article "Couplet (Chinese Poetry)", but I think it poses more questions than answers. So a 对联 (duì lián) is a "Chinese couplet": it is composed of ...
2 votes
1 answer
344 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?
5 votes
2 answers
193 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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
149 views

Is spelling with numbers a viable option to remember tones?

This question is about the technique to remember tones via spelling in pinyin with the unaccented letter followed by the tone number as opposed to the superscript. For example, remembering nǐ as ni3 ...
4 votes
3 answers
364 views

Resources listing polysyllabic Mandarin words with same pronunciation differing only by tones?

I'm interested in finding any webpages or books that list words and phrases of more than one character that share the same pronunciation but not the same tones. For instance, here are some terms I've ...
4 votes
1 answer
204 views

Can a neutral tone appear on a non-final syllable?

Can a neutral/fifth tone appear in a word syllable other than the last one? If so, as a lexical tone, a sandhi tone or both? Adding a few examples would be helpful.
2 votes
1 answer
139 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
321 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
119 views

Chinese Pronunciation App

I am curious whether there is some good app or a website for practicing pronunciation of Chinese tones. There is a way to practice pronunciation on HelloChinese but I find the tone recognition quite ...