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18

Linguists divide pre-modern Chinese broadly into two periods: Old Chinese and Middle Chinese. I wanted to preface my answer by noting that Bernhard Karlgren used the term "Ancient Chinese" to refer specifically to Middle Chinese, and it appears that your questions seem to be referring to Middle Chinese as well, though I will be making a note about Old ...


13

Here are some different things that I have seen that has helped people pick up tones: Starting out Most books use graphs which show how each of the tones rise, fall, flatten etc (example here). It helps some people to see the difference visually and the graphs show how great an extent the tones differ. The tones also have names (not official) e.g. rising, ...


12

Dictionaries, in general, will not incorporate tone sandhi rules into their pronunciations (of which Mandarin has quite a few) Wikipedia says the following: Mandarin Chinese Mandarin features several sandhi tone rules. When there are two 3rd tones in a row, the first one becomes 2nd tone, and the second one becomes a half-3rd tone. E.g. 你好 (nǐ + hǎo = ní ...


11

The correct one should be bu2 zai4 hu. Unless there is an emphasis for "NOT" CARE, a 4th tone bu4 is then used, but I rarely hear that as a native speaker. Let's review the tone change rule for 不, A second tone bu2 is used only when the tone of next character is a 4th tone, i.e. bu2 shi4. A forth tone bu4 is used if the tone of next character is 1st, 2nd ...


11

There have been conflicting claims on whether the second tone and the "raised third tone" are distinct, but according to Jerry Norman's 1988 book, Chinese, "Perceptual tests done by Dreher and Lee (1966) and Wang and Li (1967) established that native speakers are unable to make a consistent distinction between second tones and raised third tones" (147). So ...


9

All the 5 tones in Mandarin exist in English already, but not used in the same way. 1st tone: I am a STUUUUU-dent. When you read this sentence in the normal way, the syllable STUUUUU carries the first tone. 2nd tone: Are you a stu-DENT? When we ask a yes-no question in English, we need to raise the last syllable of the sentence. The syllable of DENT? ...


9

Modern Cantonese is generally considered not to have tone sandhi (in Chinese, 變調, but also more specifically 連續變調), that is to say, changes in the tonal values when in certain phonetic contexts. Cantonese does have a phenomenon of lexical derivation which involves a change of tone, known as 變音 or changed tone; many discussions consider both these tone ...


8

There is a very interesting phenomenon in Chinese, called 语音变调(tone sandhi). Here are the rules. (Note: all the rules apply only characters in the same word/phrase) Tone Rule #1: 3-3 to 2-3 When there are 2 third tones in a row in the same word/phrase, the first one becomes second tone. This rule is always followed automatically, even though it will not ...


7

I feel this is a pedagogical shortcoming. New words should be introduced using pairs of words with the same sound but different tones, for example {天、甜},{湯、糖},{上海、傷害}. This might help the learner make remembering tones a prioity in his efforts to learn the language. For example, in a lesson with 20 new vocabulary words, perhaps there should be two pairs of ...


7

Simply put, there are no tone sandhi rules for when words change from their citation tone to the neutral tone. The appearance of the neutral tone is morphologically motivated, not phonologically motivated — in other words, the tone change is not governed by the sounds of the surrounding words. Because the definition of sandhi is phonologically-...


7

一 is First tone here, meaning first class, the best. Other examples: 一等奖, first prize; 第一, first.


6

Here's an example of this sort of phenomenon: Syllables that begin with unaspirated stops b, d, g, or affricates j, zh, z, and end in a nasal n or ng, as a rule don’t have second-tone forms. Here's a more extensive explanation of how this came about


6

From a practical learner's point of view, treating the checked "tones" as shorter, closed syllables that carry the same tone as as tones 1, 3, 6 (and 2 in changed tone) would be enough. In modern Cantonese of the Pearl River Delta, there appears to be little to no difference in pitch between the non-checked and checked. In Taishanese, one of the checked ...


6

I suggest that you shouldn't do this. Chinese characters cannot be faithfully constructed backwards from a tone+syllable combination -- the mapping only goes one way (and even then, sometimes characters have multiple pronunciations). For example, as you know, 馬 is generally pronounced ma3. However, ma3 could also reference the characters 碼 (number), or 獁 (...


6

The neutral tone doesn't have a fixed value; it's phonetic realization is largely determined by the preceding tone: Also called fifth tone or zeroth tone (in Chinese 轻声 [輕聲] qīng shēng, literal meaning: "light tone"), neutral tone is sometimes thought of as a lack of tone. It is associated with weak syllables, and thus usually comes at the end of ...


6

According to some researches there is a declination effect (pitch lowering) in Mandarin Chinese. Fundamental frequency (F0) of a speach is decreasing as a speach goes on, with greater downsteps of pitch at the beginning of phrase. In sequence of first tones, e.g. "老王蒸冬瓜" (...zhēng dōngguā) the first syllable [zhēng] has higher pitch then the last one [guā] ...


6

Only the first one is correct (聲調輪廓), as a jargon used in linguistics. The second one is a (bad) word-for-word translation of tone (音調) + contour (曲綫).


6

Short answer: Simply speaking, remove all the original tones of each character and follow the tune of the music. Yes it is hard to recognize if you never read the lyrics before, even for native speakers.


5

This rule is not so strict, as in my specification, we never pronounce 甲苯(methylbenzene),乙苯(ethylbenzene), 苯甲酸(acetic acid) in that fashion, though no ambiguity is produced, it is just weird and funny to pronounce so. However, for familiar words like 奶奶,姐姐, the other extreme is present, which is they are always pronounced as 21-5. (In my opinion, this is an ...


5

There are three things going on here: 多 pronounced with a 2nd tone If you observe carefully, you may notice that all examples of 多 with 2nd tone occur when the following character is 4th tone. I believe this is an erroneous extension of the same rule for the characters "一" (yī) and "不" (bù), which both become 2nd tone when the following character is 4th ...


5

As an addendum, two brief comments regarding how tones are reflected in the languages that borrowed a lot of vocabulary from Chinese: According to the Wikipedia page on ‘Sino-Xenic pronunciations’, “[m]ost Middle Chinese tones were preserved in the tones of Middle Korean, but these have since been lost in all but a few dialects.” The source cited seems ...


5

Simple answer: Sinosplice Tones In Chinese Songs I’ve been asked a number of times: if Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, what happens when you sing in Mandarin? Well, the answer is the melody takes over and the tones are ignored. Pretty simple. A graphic representation of tones spoken vs. sung in Mandarin [also from Sinosplice]: Sometimes, ...


5

Are there any erhua-ed words that has a different meaning from the not "erhualess" word? Yes, many, categorized as follows: Nominalization (convert to noun), e.g. 盖 (to cover) -> 盖儿 (lid), 尖 (pointy) -> 尖儿 (tip) Generalization, e.g. 眼 (eye) -> 眼儿 (hole), Derivation, e.g. 白面 (white flour) -> 白面儿 (drug) Word simplification by replacing the last character ...


5

Standard Cantonese's 陽平 tone is definitely pronounced with a falling contour (21). Modern Cantonese Phonology by Robert S. Bauer, p. 144 appears to acknowledge, but did not find, a low-level contour for this tone though: For the Mid-Low Falling tone both Yuan (1983:181) and Zhan (1985:168) also recognized a variant low level contour of ˩11 in addition to ...


5

"Neutral" tone is not really a tone, and shouldn't be used for comparison with lexical tones. Jerry Norman (Chinese, p. 148) calls syllables with neutral tone 'weakly stressed syllables' to avoid just this misundertanding: The term 'neutral tone' implies that weakly stressed syllables are a kind of 'fifth tone'. From both a synchronic and a diachronic ...


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