Tonal changes not reflected in Pinyin

Capotis

Member
Peruvian Spanish
I'm a Mandarin Chinese beginner, and I see that everytime they give you advice on how to read this language, they tell you to master the 4 tones. Learning the tones is not that hard, but when it comes to read them in sentences is confusing. Am I the only one who thinks that these 4 tones are not helpful?. Let me give a few examples:

nǐ hǎo actually sounds more like ní hào

xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ? sounds more like xí shòu jiān zài nǎ li?


I understand that the intonation may vary when people speak, but the more I listen to sentences, the more confused I get. Is there any rules concerning these changes?
or maybe I'm wrong and need to pay closer attention to the tones?
 
  • MèngDié

    Senior Member
    Cuando dos palabras del tercer tono están juntas, la primera se vuelve una palabra del segundo tono. Es una regla general. La segunda mantiene el tercer tono. Entonces nǐ hǎo se vuelven hǎo​.
     

    xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    I see that everytime they give you advice on how to read this language, they tell you to master the 4 tones. Learning the tones is not that hard, but when it comes to read them in sentences is confusing.
    The advice they give you is basically correct: you should master the 4 tones. But mastering the 4 tones does not mean just being able to hear them read one by one separately, you'll also need to learn how they may change when put together. A bachelor may behave differently once married, even if it's still the same person :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Capotis

    Member
    Peruvian Spanish
    Is there a resource o page I can go to that teaches you about those changes? Sure I know what you mean, but I need specifics. All those YouTube videos about the four tones don't mention anything about the subject.
     

    frisby

    Member
    American English
    nǐ hǎo actually sounds more like ní hào

    xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ? sounds more like xí shòu jiān zài nǎ li?

    Your perception of the tones in the above examples is partically correct. Basically, then two third tones follow each other, the first will become a second tone. So 你好 should sound like hǎo, 洗手 should sound like shǒu. The third tone should become more obvious once you are more used to hearing it. It can be pretty difficult to hear when you first begin learning.

    Here's a pretty simple explanation of how tones change when in different combinations:
    http://www.trinity.edu/sfield/chin1501/ToneChange.html
     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    I think the tone marks provide you a GUIDELINE of pronounciation. When we speak fast, the tones and manners may be vague according to our habits.
    Just like learning English. We firstly studied the phonetic notations, but later found that when native speakers speak fast, there are changes too. For example, "speed" should really pronounced "sbeed", and "t" sound in sentenses are often too weak to be heard...
    I believe tones and other phonetic notations are very useful tools. But to speak like real native speakers, we always need to IMITATE them other than just memorize the notations and rules.
     
    Yes, but there are tone rules which will be explained in your textbook.
    Too many Chinese words have the same pinyin spelling and the tone markers may be required.
    For instance xiaojie has two meanings understood perfectly with tone markers.
    This can be Miss (young lady) and urinate.
    In reading and speaking the syntax should make the meaning obvious, but might cause a giggle here and there.
     

    zhang835

    New Member
    China - Chinese (Mandarin)
    xiâo jiê, shuì jiào yì wân duō shâo qián? 小姐,睡觉一晚多少钱? Hi girl, how much is it to sleep with you for one night? (How much is it to have sex with you?)
    xiâo jiê, shuî jiâo yì wân duō shâo qián? 小姐,水饺一碗多少钱? Hi girl (waitress), how much is it to have a bowl of dumplings?
    So sometimes it really has a difference. But don't worry too much about it cuz most native people would understand your meaning under every certain situation.
     
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