Tones

Also known as: 声调 (shēngdiào).

This page lists all the articles on this wiki about tones, grouped by level.

If you're just learning the tones, be sure to check out: The Four Tones of Mandarin Chinese

Pronunciation Points Related to Tones

A1 Tone Points

Level Pronunciation Point Summary
A1 Four tones There are four main tones in Mandarin Chinese. Your quest to master them starts here!
A1 Neutral tone Whether you think of it as "the fifth tone," or "the zeroth tone," it's a little tonal trick you'll need to know.

A2 Tone Points

Level Pronunciation Point Summary
A2 Tone change rules If you know all 4 tones (plus the neutral tone), then it's time to learn the three big rules about when these tones regularly change.
1. Tone changes for third tones For example: 你好 (níhǎo), 很好 (hén hǎo), 可以 (kéyǐ)
2. Tone changes for "bu" For example: 不是 (bú shì), 不对 (bú duì), 不要 (bú yào)
3. Tone changes for "yi" For example: 一个 (yígè), 一样 (yíyàng), 一起 (yìqǐ)

B1 Tone Points

Level Pronunciation Point Summary
B1 Tone pairs It's not enough to know the tones; you need to PRACTICE them in each combination, until it becomes second nature.
1. Tone pair 1-1 For example: 今天 (jīntiān), 星期 (xīngqī), 咖啡 (kāfēi)
2. Tone pair 1-2 For example: 突然 (tūrán), 加油 (jiāyóu), 空调 (kōngtiáo)
3. Tone pair 1-3 For example: 多少 (duōshǎo), 喝酒 (hējiǔ), 机场 (jīchǎng)
4. Tone pair 1-4 For example: 因为 (yīnwèi), 说话 (shuōhuà), 工作 (gōngzuò)
5. Tone pair 1-0 For example: 舒服 (shūfu), 清楚 (qīngchu), 知识 (zhīshi)
6. Tone pair 2-1 For example: 昨天 (zuótiān), 明天 (míngtiān), 回家 (huíjiā)
7. Tone pair 2-2 For example: 平时 (píngshí), 流行 (liúxíng), 无聊 (wúliáo)
8. Tone pair 2-3 For example: 如果 (rúguǒ), 苹果 (píngguǒ), 朋友 (péngyǒu)
9. Tone pair 2-4 For example: 还是 (háishì), 然后 (ránhòu), 不错 (bùcuò)
10. Tone pair 2-0 For example: 便宜 (piányi), 麻烦 (máfan)
11. Tone pair 3-1 For example: 已经 (yǐjīng), 喜欢 (xǐhuan), 手机 (shǒujī)
12. Tone pair 3-2 For example: 很忙 (hěn máng), 以前 (yǐqián), 有名 (yǒumíng)
13. Tone pair 3-3 For example: 你好 (nǐhǎo), 很好 (hěn hǎo), 有点 (yǒudiǎn)
14. Tone pair 3-4 For example: 以后 (yǐhòu), 早饭 (zǎofàn), 好看 (hǎokàn)
15. Tone pair 3-0 For example: 走吧 (zǒu ba), 跑啊 (pǎo a), 买了 (mǎi le)
16. Tone pair 4-1 For example: 上班 (shàngbān), 蛋糕 (dàngāo), 一些 (yīxiē)
17. Tone pair 4-2 For example: 上学 (shàngxué), 问题 (wèntí), 去年 (qùnián)
18. Tone pair 4-3 For example: 一起 (yīqǐ), 下雨 (xiàyǔ), 电脑 (diànnǎo)
19. Tone pair 4-4 For example: 现在 (xiànzài), 重要 (zhòngyào), 电话 (diànhuà)
20. Tone pair 4-0 For example: 去吧 (qù ba), 到了 (dào le), 漂亮 (piàoliang)
B1 Tone changes for multiple consecutive third tones For example: 法语也有语法
B1 Additional tone change rules

B2 Tone Points

Level Pronunciation Point Summary
B2 Pronunciation variant What happens when a word has a certain pinyin reading in the dictionary, but is often pronounced differently by native speakers? It ends up on this list!
B2 Advanced tone change rules Although you probably know the three main tone change rules, there are a few more obscure ones that more advanced learners may want to tackle.