Learning the Tones
- Tone 1-Often represented with a straight horizontal line above a letter in pinyin, this tone is described as both high and level. When speaking this tone, your pitch will be slightly elevated. However, you will want to keep your voice even while speaking the entire syllable for proper execution.
- Tone 2– Akin to the tone we use in English when asking a question, this tone causes you to slightly raise your pitch while speaking it. It is represented using a rising diagonal line above the pinyin letter.
- Tone 3– This tone is very distinctive as it requires the voice to rise and fall while speaking. Represented by making a curved line above the letter in the pinyin, tonal dipping is a common phrase used to describe this tone.
- Tone 4– This tone begins high but quickly drops to the bottom of the tonal range. For English speakers, this is most closely associated with the tone used to denote anger. This is typically represented by a diagonal line that appears to be dropping, above the pinyin letters.
- Tone 5– The last tone, or neutral tone is not mapped on a tone chart as it does not have a defined pitch. This tone is described as quick and light, regardless of pitch. These typically have no tone mark with relation to being written with letters of the pinyin.
Pronouncing J, Q, X
- Learning J– To pronounce this sound, you need to begin with your the tip of your tongue behind your lower front teeth. Now, if you make the English ‘J’ sound, this will sound like a Chinese ‘J’.
- Learning X– Similar to learning the ‘J’ sound, this also requires you to put the tip of your tongue behind your front bottom teeth. You now want to make the English ‘sh’ sound and this will give you the sound of a Chinese ‘X’.
- Learning Q– Just as with ‘J’ and ‘X’, you must also begin with your tongue behind your front bottom teeth. However, you want to add a ‘T’ sound before making the sound for ‘X’ and this will give you the sound for a Chinese ‘Q’.
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This article was published by the Pandanese Team.