Fundamentals on Chinese Tones

Chinese tones are important to speaking the language and understanding Mandarin Chinese. Here are some details and tips that might help you.


Details about Tones


There are 4 tones and 1 “neutral” tone, spoken with no sound.

Tones are fundamentally the song of the language.

You can’t simply speak Chinese, you have to sing it.

In Mandarin, each of these four tones is different.

There are tips on how to represent the tones that make them simpler to sing.


Ways to Present the Tones


Tones can be presented graphically. They are sometimes diagrammed with the pitch on the y-axis (vertically) and time on the x-axis (horizontally). In this way, you know what to do when you are singing these tones. Though the graphic presentations can get different result, they’re also presented with little tonal marks above the “vowels” or finals.


The tonal marks, looking a lot like -,/,v,, assist you to understand whether your voice really should be level, rise, fall and rise, or fall all the time. These tonal marks are helpful when you start to learn Chinese language. Finally, you’ll be saying some particular words that you once memorized unwittingly!


Tips for Speaking Chinese Tones


The first tone is a high, level tone. Commence a little higher than your speaking voice and keep this pitch. It should be like saying “Aaaahhhh” when you are at the dentist’s office.


The second tone starts with your speaking voice and rises over time. You’ll finish on a higher pitch than when you first start. You can pretend that you are asking a question and your voice rises slightly on the end in the sentence.


The next tone is the most difficult one. Commence at your speaking voice, drop the pitch to a low pitch, then give the sound up again to a pitch that is higher than when you first began. The third tone is also known as the falling and rising tone.


The fourth tone is pretty easy. Begin with a high pitch and let your voice fall gently to a low pitch, considerably like a sigh of relief.


The Next Step after Tones


After knowing the four tones, you should do more practice in order to master these tones! Of course, you might sound very strange or make mistakes at the beginning. But you have to be persistent!


While you proceed on your journey to learn the language, you will find that soon the tones will become your 2nd nature. When you study new characters and phrases, you will realize that you have to concentrate on the tones. After memorizing and practicing, you will be stunned at how simply they come! After knowing the fundamentals of tones, you should go on learning PinYin which is the spoken sounds of the language.