Language is like music and every language has its particular rhythm. What’s the one of Chinese?
You will find that the tones slide from one to another, not jumping. And we need to last enough time on each tone.
This diagram in the following helps visualize the pitches of the four tones:
I will introduce you to four words to help you remember the four tones.
衣 for the first tone. It means clothes. It has a high pitch. So follow my hand motion and repeat it.
明 for the second tone. It means bright. It starts from a medium pitch, then rises to the top. You will find that this tone will keep rising and lasts a long time, maybe the longest among the four tones.
我for the third tone. It means I or me. It starts low, dips to the bottom, and then rises toward the top.
快 for the fourth tone. It means quick or quickly. It starts at the top, then falls sharply and strongly to the bottom. The word 快 is a very good example here. You will not forget how sharp and strong the fourth tone should be when you recite the word 快。
Comparatively, the tones for single words are easy. They become more complicated when combined with other words to form phrases or sentences, and when used in different contexts. But remember: practice makes perfect. Now let’s do some exercises.
Topics related to learning Mandarin Chinese.
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