Pinyin rules for tone sandhi


Senior Member
Español (Castellano).

I don't know what is the right way to write the tones in pinyin when there is tone change or tone sandhi.

For example, if I want to write 你好 in pinyin, the right way to write it in a formal document should be ni3hao3 or ni2hao3?

Thank you in advance.
  • Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Hello Lacasito! I'm not sure I understand your question. What do you mean by a formal document? Something like a certificate? In that case a person's name is written in pinyin without tonal marks. In textbooks I don't think they show the after-sandhi pronunciations. But you need to wait for other opinions.


    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    I agree with Ghabi.
    你好 is presented as "ni3hao3" and any change in the actual pronunciation is accounted for by the tone sandhi rules. Otherwise, things can get really messy if you have to write a string of several syllables in the 3rd tone.
    You can also write "ni2hao3" but in a very informal context, such as in a classroom, where you want to make things easier for beginning learners, and where your convention is well explained and understood (ie, in a language text book you're writing).


    New Member
    In Hanyu Pinyin, tone sandhi is not indicated. I tried to post a link to the official rules but, to help ensure spammers don't get through, as a new member I'm not allowed.

    But a lot of people get confused because they think of Pinyin in terms of Chinese characters rather than what is ultimately based on: Mandarin words (i.e., pronunciation). So in cases where tone sandhi is not in effect actual standard pronunciations are what is written. For example, you wrote 谢谢你们俩, 我觉得已经明白了。 In Pinyin that is "Xièxie nǐmen liǎ, wǒ juéde yǐjing míngbai le," not "Xièxiè nǐmén liǎ, wǒ juéde yǐjīng míngbái le," because none of those are related to tone sandhi but are simply the standard pronunciations of the words.