告訴

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by le golfe Persique, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. le golfe Persique Banned

    Italian - Italy
    I know that gàosù (I don't know how to write it in Chinese yet) means "to inform". But I recently heard someone pronounce it as gàosu. Is this a different verb altogether? Or is it a colloquial pronunciation of gàosù?
     
  2. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I'll just copy my answer for similar questions here.

    General knowledge for most "neutral tones/light tones/zeroth tones" (the same thing, Pinyin without any tone mark):
    1. Using it or not depends on regional or personal habits. Southerners generally use less light tone. It won't matter too much in real life.
    2. The neutral tone usually sounds less formal than other four tones.
    3. The forth tone is the closest to the light tone. Sometimes a native speaker cannot distinguish them, and may pronounce a vague tone in-between.

    Why all in a sudden you guys all ask about the neutral tone?:confused:
     
  3. Wen24

    Wen24 Member

    Kraków
    chiński-Chiny
    gàosù 告诉
     
  4. stephenlearner Senior Member

    Chinese
    I feel it has two ways of pronunciation.

    One is the common way: gao(4th tone) su (light tone), which means to inform.

    The other is less used way: gao (4th tone) su (4th tone), which is a legal term, meaning to sue somebody.

    We have similar words for suing somebody: 告状、诉讼
     
  5. Yujan Chou

    Yujan Chou Senior Member

    Chengdu
    Chinese-China
    Agree with stephen. Technically, gao4su0 and gao4su4 are different. The latter is a formal term, and is much more used in Taiwan than in the Mainland. SuperXW offers a general rule, but I'm afraid it is not the case here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  6. le golfe Persique Banned

    Italian - Italy
    So you mean that gàosù is wrong if I want to say "to inform"? I MUST say gàosu, even if I am using literary Chinese?
     
  7. retrogradedwithwind Senior Member

    Chinese
    I agree with Stephen, but I don't think the two ways to pronounce 告诉 are extremely strict. So in this sense I agree with superXW as well.

    When it means to inform, both are acceptable but it's better to say with a light tone.
    When it means sue somebody, the forth tone is the better choice, or the only choice?
     
  8. Yujan Chou

    Yujan Chou Senior Member

    Chengdu
    Chinese-China
    When I say "technically," I mean this is what the dictionary says. So if you are taking some Mandarin oral exam (presumably a strict one), yes, you must say gao4su0 to mean "inform." It's not a literary or colloquial choice; it is the only definitive pronunciation according to the dictionary.

    You may conveniently take as a general rule that "the light tone sounds less formal", though it's not an ironclad rule. For instance, 玫瑰[rose], a neutral, proper noun without any contextual indication, is pronounced mei2gui0. The light tone here has nothing to do with informality, it is just the definitive pronunciation in the dictionary.

    Bear in mind the third rule posted by SuperXW: The forth tone is close to the light tone and sometimes even a native speaker cannot distinguish them. This explains why most native speakers are not aware that gao4su0 and gao4su4 are actually different two words, since they sound pretty much the same. In other words, it doesn't really matter in daily life if you pronounce the forth tone instead of the light tone, as it doesn't change much to one's ears and is totally understandable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016

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