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Questions tagged [tones]

Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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5 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
34 votes
13 answers
16k 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 ...
Ciaocibai's user avatar
  • 4,636
11 votes
3 answers
595 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'...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
765 views

How does tone sandhi apply in people's names? [duplicate]

Like the title says, the question is simple: what's the proper way to handle tone sandhi in names? Is there something like "pronounce the family name as-is, apply tone sandhi to given name"? Or is ...
dr Hannibal Lecter's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
Stephane Rolland's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
439 views

What difference(s) does it make to use the citation tone instead of the neutral tone, for the tail character in these words?

Here’s my list: 队伍, 成分, 身分, 才力, 呼噜, 亮堂, 好处, 种子, 妥当, 爽快, 痛快, 记性, 出息, 佩服, 分析, 哈欠, 寒毛, 活泼, 鼻涕, 道理, 滑稽, 考究, 讲究, 打算, 正经, 裁缝, 得罪, 意识 (and also意识 形态), 熟识, 见识, 体谅, 兴趣, [东/西/南/前/后/那/上/下/头/里/外/左/右]边, 知道, 父亲 and ...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do Chinese speakers convey emotions by speech?

In many languages, a tone conveys emotion. Thus, a word in the first tone might be perceived as conveying an easy-off emotion by a native Russian speaker; a word in the second tone might be most ...
Manjusri's user avatar
  • 311
39 votes
7 answers
9k views

Can native Chinese speakers distinguish tones in songs?

I already have a hard time distinguishing tones in normal speech. This gets significantly worse when I listen to Chinese songs, since the melody masks tones even further. Yes, I understand that ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 1,841
15 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 ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,045
10 votes
1 answer
722 views

Is there a tone sandhi rule that "4 3" changes to "4 0"?

This is a followup to my earlier question about the tones in the word "豆腐": On their own "豆" and "腐" have the tones 4 and 3: dòu, fǔ As a two-syllable / two-character word, "豆腐" has tone 4 but "fu" ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,045
5 votes
2 answers
404 views

Authoritative source for 一 changing to 4th tone before 1st, 2nd or 3rd

In another users answer https://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/2046/38 they said: 一 is pronounced in the first tone when it stands alone. It is pronounced in the fourth tone when it precedes a first,...
going's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
243 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
3 votes
3 answers
315 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
2 votes
4 answers
584 views

Does 芋頭 have a different pronunciation in Taiwan Mandarin vs Mainland?

My friends in Kaohsiung just taught me the word for "taro" 芋頭. I looked it up and found yu4 tou5 but my friends here insist it's yu4 tou2. Is this a pronunciation difference between Taiwan vs the ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,045
12 votes
7 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?
Village's user avatar
  • 2,245
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

我(也)很好 and tone sandhi

What are the (resultant) tones in those sentences, where all the words in isolation have 3rd tone? 我很好。 我也很好。 Reading tone shandhi rules on Wikipedia, there is no explanation about tree or four ...
dusan's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
536 views

Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone?

Quick question: Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone? If it is first tone, is this because it is being used as a number? Cheers, Stephen
Stephen's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Which is the most frequently used tone?

The most difficult for me in learning Chinese is memorizing the correct tone. I tried to find on web what the most frequently used tones are, but it seems to be hard to find. I suppose if one tone is ...
faure's user avatar
  • 620
8 votes
1 answer
3k 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. ...
MickG's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
354 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 ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 2,310
6 votes
1 answer
603 views

Zhuyin IME and tone 0/5 syllables

I'm teaching myself bopomofo/zhuyin keyboard while I'm in Taiwan. My Chinese level is raw beginner too. I just came across the word for tofu: Hanzi: 豆腐 Pinyin: dòufu Zhuyin: ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ· (or ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ˙) We ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,045
5 votes
6 answers
1k views

What is the best way to learn tones?

I still have difficulty to identify tones when I listen to Chinese. Moreover I have difficulty in saying second tone. Could you guys advice me some way to improve my tone?
Gerel tumen's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
477 views

non-standard tone pronunciation

After carefully listening to the tapes of Assimil "Chinese with ease", I noticed that the pronunciation by the native speakers of a few characters differs from the standard tones: 多 pronounced with a ...
Boki's user avatar
  • 83
5 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
d33tah's user avatar
  • 555
4 votes
2 answers
354 views

Should tone sandhi be written in pinyin?

Tone sandhi is a phonological change occurring in tonal languages, in which the tones assigned to individual words or morphemes change based on the pronunciation of adjacent words or morphemes. ...
marcanuy's user avatar
  • 655
3 votes
5 answers
3k views

Pinyin to Chinese characters

I'm trying to learn Chinese from books, online tutorials, but mostly from Rosetta Stone. I'm just starting, so there's still a lot I'm probably not understanding - so I don't know if I'm even asking ...
Joe Enos's user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
3 answers
419 views

質: when to pronounce in 2nd tone or 4th (Mandarin)?

In Mandarin, sometimes 質 is pronounced with the 2nd tone (e.g., 質地, 特質) and other times it's pronounced with the 4th tone (e.g., 質疑, 質量, 品質). Here are two words pronounced with the 2nd tone: 質地 http:...
Crashalot's user avatar
  • 2,131
3 votes
1 answer
213 views

Where does the 4th tone go on wan3shang (evening)?

I see the character for evening are wan3 and shang4, but when the word is written in pinyin, the fourth tone disappears from shang and it becomes neutral. I've read the rules of tone change but I don'...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
295 views

Mandarin Neutral Tone: Tone Value?

One of my dialectical dictionaries takes tone value 21 and compares it to Mandarin's neutral tone. The same tone, coincidentally enough, had been described in the same way to me by a local native ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 36.1k
3 votes
1 answer
307 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
2 votes
1 answer
209 views

Is Cantonese a better choice in looking for characters in rime dictionary (韻書)?

I ask this question, and provide my opinion as an answer, to reply to the comment of another tread in stack exchange: Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry The rationale is that it is difficult to ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to pronounce words with double fourth tones?

So I know for certain words, such as 不对, the fourth tone changes, but I believe 不 may be a special case. Some words such as 部队 seem uncomfortable to pronounce if I strictly follow 4th and 4th tones,...
TheRealFakeNews's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
806 views

Do tones change at the end of an interrogative sentence?

At 0:57 in the link below, the woman says "餐" in what sounds to be the second tone, which is rising (Edit: on second thought, it sounds more like a toneless tone, like "么" in "什么." The girl says "餐" ...
key_asdfg's user avatar
1 vote
6 answers
2k views

Do native speakers learn about 4 tones in school or do they naturally pick them up without formal education?

Do native speakers explicitly learn about 4 tones in school or do they naturally pick them up without formal education? If so how does the school test it? By having students write appropriate tone ...
key_asdfg's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
149 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