Questions tagged [tones]

Questions about the tones used in Chinese.

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3 votes
2 answers
205 views

Are there any initial consonants/syllables in modern Chinese dialects which are incompatible with some tones?

Are there any initial consonants/syllables in modern Chinese dialects which are incompatible with some tones? Can certain tones occur only in certain syllables (that is, within open or close ones)? ...
4 votes
1 answer
311 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 ...
1 vote
4 answers
2k views

How to pronounce the Mandarin third tone

I've started to learn Chinese about a month ago (as a foreign language) and I'm a little bit confused about how to pronounce the third tone (while dropping aside the tone sandhi rules). I'm confused ...
2 votes
2 answers
140 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 ...
0 votes
3 answers
217 views

我好想你 and tone shift [duplicate]

I'm new to Chinese so please forgive me if this question it's dumb. I read this frase on a lyrics' song: 我好想你 And when I search for the pinyin I got this: wo3 ha3o xia3ng ni3 ...
2 votes
3 answers
201 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
132 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?
2 votes
1 answer
107 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
289 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. ...
4 votes
2 answers
123 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
169 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 ...
38 votes
7 answers
8k 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 ...
6 votes
3 answers
248 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
184 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 ...
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

Adding tone marks to characters

I'm looking for a way of adding tone marks above characters. It's fairly easy to add Pinyin with tone marks, but I want to add only tone marks. I want to use this as a teaching tool, because even ...
1 vote
2 answers
110 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?
2 votes
5 answers
142 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 ...
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do non-native speakers get to perceive tones in Chinese?

Recently I've been teaching an English-speaking friend some basics about Chinese, but inevitably he got stuck with the tones. I've demonstrated to him the 4 tones with audio files, yet it seems hard ...
1 vote
1 answer
99 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
75 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
917 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
341 views

Tone Sandhi: Sichuanese 四川话

Been trying to find the rules of tone sandhi in Sichuanese - but not having a lot of luck. Wikipedia Talk:Sichuanese Mandarin Tone Sandhi Great improvements to the original article! Can we get some ...
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sogou IME (on Ubuntu): How to output pinyin with tone marks?

I have Sogou Pinyin on Ubuntu and things work fine, but I haven't been able to figure out how to type Pinyin with tone marks, e.g. 'mǎ', etc. I've looked into the settings but found no option like ...
5 votes
2 answers
371 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
91 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 ...
5 votes
4 answers
729 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
314 views

Can I communicate without changing tones?

I'm not sure why this question has not been posted yet (I might have overlooked), but is it possible to communicate with native Chinese people even if you don't change its tones? For example, I only ...
7 votes
4 answers
150 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 (...
1 vote
2 answers
100 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?
1 vote
4 answers
130 views

What does 尽 mean and what tone does it have in 对我父母也极尽照顾?

This question is about 尽 in this snippet: 不仅对我好,对我父母也极尽照顾,。。。 Bùjǐn duì wǒ hǎo, duì wǒ fùmǔ yě jí [jìn/jǐn] zhàogù, ... 嫁给离婚带孩子的男人 我的生活只剩下两个字, guaixun.com I translate this to something like: ...
3 votes
3 answers
666 views

Tones and Pinyin, Foreigners vs Natives

Evidently, tones are a matter of concern for many learners of Chinese (see for example, this question on remembering tones). While learners struggle to describe the properties of tones (is the 3rd ...
1 vote
1 answer
121 views

Colour code characters according to tone on iPhone/Android

I use wechat to talk with Chinese friends, and try to type Chinese to help me learn. I would like Chinese characters to appear colour coded according to tone. How could I go about this? Assuming it's ...
3 votes
2 answers
310 views

Why does 空 have a fourth tone reading in 空格, but a first tone reading in 空调, 空气 etc

And, more broadly, is there a pattern when words like 空 have the same pronunciation but different tones, depending on the word?
5 votes
5 answers
466 views

In which pitches do I pronounce several first tones in a sequence?

For a while now I've been noticing and trying to figure out how to correctly pronounce several first tone characters in a row. Examples: 機車 jīchē 公車 gōngchē The speech synthesis of Quizlet ...
1 vote
0 answers
168 views

Tone contours along diphthongs [closed]

I'd like to know as much as possible about how tone contours (T2, T3, T4) are distributed along Mandarin/standard rhyme diphthongs, especially ai ei ao ou, with references to academic articles if ...
2 votes
3 answers
120 views

上[將] in 4th tone instead of 1st tone?

My understanding for the pronunciation of 將 is 4th tone for verb (e.g. 將數百之衆,轉而攻秦) and 1st tone for noun (e.g. 將軍; 將 in 象棋). So why is it that for 上將 as in 海軍上將, the character is in 4th tone? My ...
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the rule for a series of third tones? [duplicate]

I understand what to do if you have a series of 3 third tones, and the rules are well explained here. But what about 4 third tones in a row? 这件大衣很特别,我也想买一件。 I'm guessing it would be wó yě xiáng ...
4 votes
1 answer
113 views

Are idioms affected by tone changing rules?

For example, if I have the idiom: 一路平安 Does the tone of the 一 change to a second tone because 路 is fourth tone?
4 votes
2 answers
332 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. ...
3 votes
2 answers
142 views

What is the tone for 少 in 老少边穷地区?

I hear Mr. Xi Jinping in his address to villagers spoke 老少边穷地区 in the fourth tone (i.e., 少 as 绍), but I think he might have made a mistake here, out of instincts, without any real understanding.
3 votes
3 answers
384 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:...
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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
172 views

这个 and 个 Pinyin

According to Google Translate the Pinyin for 这个 is 'Zhège' but the Pinyin for 个 is 'Gè'. I've looked at several links referring to tone changes (e.g. here) but nothing I can find explains the ...
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

How to pronounce three third tones in a row? [duplicate]

Edit: This is a duplicate of How does tone sandhi apply in people's names? I learned the rules for pronouncing tone pairs, I know that for a sentence like 我买花 the two third tones become a second ...
0 votes
2 answers
138 views

What is the correct tone for 压 in 高压电 (high voltage) and 低压电 (low voltage)?

In the following signs, we have 高压电 (high voltage) and 低压电 (low voltage). Chinese Converter gives the pinyin: gāo yā diàn and dī yā diàn (this has been wrong in the past). However, Dict.cn and ...
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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
208 views

How important are tones in comparison with vowels or consonants in Mandarin?

Tones are of course essential to distinguish meaning in Mandarin. However, how important are they if you compare with vowels or consonants? For example, to a native, what sounds "more wrong" - to ...
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?
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

What is the name of this tonal marking system?

What is the name of this tonal marking system? please do not try to explain the picture - the picture is clear enough itself.