Transcript

lang-zh-Latn
Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com and this is Mandarin Chinese. In this lesson we're going to unite the powers of the tones. Oh, and we're also going to talk about the neutral tone.
So we've seen how tones work in single syllables. Now we're going to see what happens when we combine tones. Most of our examples will be place names. We'll mainly looking at sequences of tones, but our examples just happen to review all the vowel and consonant spellings we've covered. In some of the previous lessons, we've already come across syllables in what we call the neutral tone, that is, unstressed syllables which cannot be assigned to any of the four tones.
Some examples of these words that we've seen are:
  • xiānsheng
  • xiǎojie
  • nǐ ne
  • tàitai
The neutral tone is actually slightly different after each of the four full tones.
So let's go ahead and attach a neutral tone syllable to a syllable of each tone and compare the sounds.
  • fēi le
  • féi le
  • fěi le
  • fèi le
Notice that there is no tone mark over the neutral tone syllable in the Pinyin. A toneless syllable, or what we call a syllable in the neutral tone, has a definite pitch, but this pitch doesn't belong to the syllable the way a tone does. Instead it's determined by the tone of the preceding syllable, as shown here. {point to shoulder}
Notice the different heights of the dots representing the neutral tone, and listen for the corresponding different pitches of the neutral tone as the speaker reads the syllables.
  • fēi le
  • féi le
  • fěi le
  • fèi le
After the high tone, the pitch of the neutral tone is almost at the bottom. Listen for the drop and try imitating it.
  • fēi le
  • fēi le
  • fēi le
After the rising tone, the pitch of the neutral tone is in the middle. Again, listen for the drop, and try to imitate it.
  • féi le
  • féi le
  • féi le
The low tone will stay low before a neutral tone. There was no rising tail. As a matter of fact, the low tone only has its rising tail when nothing immediately follows it. We'll go into this in a moment. After this tailless low tone, which is sometimes called the half third tone, the pitch of the neutral tone is near the top.
Listen for the jump, and try to imitate it.
  • fěi le
  • fěi le
  • fěi le
After the falling tone, the pitch of the neutral tone is at the bottom. It's almost like a continuation of the falling tone. Listen for the steady fall and repeat.
  • fèi le
  • fèi le
  • fèi le
Now try repeating each example after the speaker.
  • fēi le
  • féi le
  • fěi le
  • fèi le
As I was saying before, the low tone stays low before the neutral tone. It also stays low before the high, rising, and falling tones. So basically, it stays low before any tone except another low tone.
Listen to these examples.
  • Táiběi
  • Běijīng
  • Yǒngpíng
  • Bǎodìng
The syllable "běi" which means north is in the low tone. In "Táiběi" the name of the largest city in Taiwan, it comes at the end and so it has its rising tail. In "Běijīng" it comes before a different full tone and so it loses its rising tail. The same thing happens in "Yǒngpíng" and "Bǎodìng".
Try repeating these examples after the speaker.
  • Táiběi
  • Běijīng
  • Yǒngpíng
  • Bǎodìng
When a low tone comes before another low tone, something quite different happens. It changes to a rising tone. Here are the names of two lakes in Beijing, Nánhǎi (literally South Sea) and Běihǎi (literally North Sea). Notice that the tone diagrams are the same for both names. Before the low tone of "hǎi", the low tone of "Běi" becomes a rising tone, indistinguishable from the rising tone of "Nán".
Listen.
  • Nánhǎi
  • Běihǎi

Try repeating them.
  • Nánhǎi
  • Běihǎi
Besides the rising tone surname "Hú", there's a low tone surname "Hǔ". If both of Miss and Miss have the given name Měilíng, which starts with a low tone, both full names would be pronounced "Hú Měilíng". You wouldn't be able to tell who (Hú) was who (Hǔ). Did you catch that?
Now we're going to go through every two tone combination. Check out this diagram.
Listen to the speaker read across the rows paying particular attention to the neutral tone and to the irregular low tones.
  • Shānxī
  • Kūnmíng
  • Xiānggǎng
  • Kāihuà
  • Fēi le
  • Yán'ān
  • Yǘnnán
  • Táiběi
  • Luódìng
  • Féi le
  • Běijīng
  • Yǒngpíng
  • Běihǎi
  • Guǎngxìn
  • Fěi le
  • Sìchuān
  • Rèhér
  • Shànghǎi
  • Fèngyì
  • Fèi le
Awesome. For more practice, here's a whole nother set.
Listen to the speaker read down the columns this time.
  • Cāngzhōu
  • Zézhōu
  • Wǔchāng
  • Zhèjiāng
  • Zhīlú
  • Jiéshí
  • Jiǔlóng
  • Yüènán
  • Qīngdǎo
  • Suíyüǎn
  • Pǔěr
  • Rìběn
  • Bōyì
  • Méngzì
  • Lǚshùn
  • Wànxiàn
  • Fēi le
  • Féi le
  • Fěi le
  • Fèi le
That's the end of this lesson. Remember to head over to Lenguin.com to do the exercises. That's Lenguin as in Lenguin the Penguin. Thanks for watching! I want to thank all of our supporters for their help in making these courses possible. We want to keep these courses free, and with your help we can do that. So be sure to head over to our Patreon page, where in exchange for as little as a dollar, you'll get BONUS stuff. Until next time, stay cool.
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