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Tone Practicing

Many learners feel tones are the most difficult part in Chinese. When learning tones, you should remember the fixed sounds of each tone first.

  • The first tone is high and flat, and the pitch is kept at a high level for a while;
  • The second tone rises from middle level to the highest level;
  • The third tone goes down first and then rises but it is rarely pronounced as the original tone;
  • The fourth tone falls from the highest to the lowest.

It will be helpful if you remember how to pronounce ā á ǎ à as a fundamental key and then you can refer to them when you are not sure how to pronounce a syllable. Then you should pay attention to the modified tones by the influence of other tones.

Let’s practice more words with different combinations of tones. Please listen to the audio and repeat.Audio

  • jīntiān — today; zhōngguó — China;
    Yīngyǔ — English; shēngrì — birthday
  • míngtiān — tomorrow; míngnián — next year;
    píjiǔ — beer; búcuò — not bad
  • lǎoshī — teacher; cǎoméi — strawberry;
    hěnhǎo — very good; hǎokàn — beautiful
  • qìchē — car; hànyǔ — Chinese language;
    bùhǎo — not good; kuàilè — happy
  • māma — mother; yéye — grandfather;
    nǎinai — grandmother; bàba — father

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Chinese: Pronunciation and Tone

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)

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