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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn a few rules which will require you to change the tone of a syllable, in a word or sentence.
Pinyin is quite useful for showing you how to pronounce something in Chinese, however it isn't a perfect system.
You'll need to learn these rules because it won't be reflected in the pinyin!
"NO FALLING AND RISING TONES NEXT TO EACH OTHER"
You cannot have two falling and rising tones next to each other.
When this happens, you need to pronounce every falling and rising tone -- except for the last one, as a rising tone.
很好
Here's an example with 3 falling and rising tones in a row.
你很好
OK. Now let's move on to the next tone change rule.
"TONE CHANGE FOR 不"
This character is a falling tone by itself.
However, if the following tone is *also* a falling tone, it will change to a rising tone.
不是
不会
不错
"TONE CHANGE FOR 一"
This character is a high tone by itself or when it's used as a number.
However for all other cases, if the following tone is a falling tone, it should be pronounced as a rising tone.
一半
一步
一次
And when the following tone is any other tone that *isn't* a falling tone, then it'll be pronounced as a falling tone.
一般
一直
一起
"QUIZ TIME" It's quiz time!
Let's see if you can apply these rules in the real world.
How should you pronounce the first character?
不太
The following character is a falling tone, so this character is pronounced with a rising tone.
What about this one?
一些
Since the following tone is a high tone, the first character is pronounced with a falling tone.
If the following tone would've been a falling tone, than this character would've been pronounced as a rising tone.
Okay, lucky last!
好懂
Remember, the first character is pronounced as a falling tone because you cannot have falling and rising tones next to each other.
In this lesson, you learnt a few tone change rules in Chinese!
In the next lesson, we'll review the material that we've covered in this series.
How did you do on the quiz? Please comment and share your thoughts!
See you in the next Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide lesson!

17 Comments

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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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How did you do on the quiz? Please comment and share your thoughts!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 09:48 PM
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Hello again Bob Cooper,


No worries! When it comes to languages, in this case Chinese, the rules are not always hard-written, there are almost always exceptions.

In fact, when people speak faster, it could become "Wó mái yúsǎn", which is also correct, this would follow rule #1 introduced in this lesson.


You could make use of the search bar (magnifying glass icon) on the top menu to search for other tone change related lessons.


Hope this helps, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai

Team ChineseClass101.com

Bob Cooper
Friday at 09:06 AM
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You made

'wo3 mai3 yu3san3' ==> 'wo2 mai3 yu2san3' while the "rule" given in the lesson would result in

'wo3 mai3 yu3san3' ==> 'wo2 mai2 yu2san3'


Wow.. I have 2 online tutors, and 3 accounts like this on different sites; 5 sources and I now have 7 subtly different answers. My key take-away from your answer is probably "The most common way is to say"... and the goal here is communication.

If you can point me at any more lessons here that discuss 变调规则,especially 三连音 I would be grateful. Or maybe the best way to find such lessons?

Thanks again.

(My apologies for 'detail-ing'.. I am a older engineer belatedly trying to learn another human language :-) )This sort of stuff fascinates me and it is prompting me to improve my vocabulary. Thanks for the site !

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:09 PM
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Hello Bob Cooper,


Thank you for your comment. Chinese is an analytic language, one single character is 字 zì, the closest to the concept of a "word" in English is 词 cí, 词 cí can be made up of one, two, three or more 字 zì characters. The boundaries of "words" in Chinese are not always clear.


When there are two third tones, the first one changes to the second tone.

When there are three or more third tones, we divide them into meaningful parts, then change tones accordingly, at the end of the day we just want to clearly convey the meanings.

e.g. 我买雨伞。Wǒ mǎi yǔsǎn. I buy an umbrella.

The most common way is to say Wó mǎi yúsǎn.

"我 wǒ", "买 mǎi" and "雨伞 yǔsǎn" are three words, so third tone sandhi does apply to adjacent words.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Ngai

Team ChineseClass101.com

Bob Cooper
Saturday at 10:06 PM
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When I first listened to this video, I understood ni and hao and nihao but had no thought that nihao would be considered a word. I considered it as two words forming a commonly used phrase, so I believed the simple statement that you cannot put 3rd tones together in speech.


Having talked this through with (mainland native) teachers, this appears to be more correctly stated as "You cannot pronounce two 3rd tones together WITHIN A WORD".. and this does NOT apply to adjacent words. In this video, the 3rd tone sandhi is applied to ni hao ma, so presumably this 'phrase' is also considered a 'word'?

This begs the question. What constitutes a word in Mandarin/ Putonghua?

And/ Or what is the 3rd-tone sandhi really ?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 04:27 PM
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Hello Mark,


Thank you for your comment. Actually the tone changes are not reflected in the tone marks, the pinyin should always indicate the original tones so as to avoid confusion.


The tone change rules apply to unrelated words as well.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Ngai

Team ChineseClass101.com

Mark
Friday at 07:45 AM
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This is a bit confusing. Sometimes the pīnyīn does not reflect these tone changes.


Do these changes only happen for words with multiple syllables? What about two unrelated words next to each other?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:02 AM
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你好 robert groulx!


不用谢。(Bú yòng xiè.) = No need for thanks. You're welcome. 😇


谢谢 (Xièxie) for studying with us, it's great to have you here!


Let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Wednesday at 11:46 PM
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thank you for the lesson transcript


favorite word is 好懂


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:54 PM
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Hello Tristen Larsen,


Thank you for your comment, we hope you enjoyed this lesson.


Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Tristen Larsen
Friday at 12:20 PM
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This lesson should have been a prius, but instead it was a lambo.