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Tone Sandhi in Numbers


Altair
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On another thread Shibo gave a great summary of some of the tone sandhi involved with numbers. I must confess that I first thought his post was overkill, but after reading it a few times, I realize that there was quite a lot there that is not reported elsewhere or else is not obvious without a great deal of reflection. I now find that the post has generated yet a few more questions.

First, what about expressions like 第 一 课“di4 yi1 ke4” and 第 十 一 楼“di4 shi2 yi1 lou2”? Does 一“yi1” always retain its original tone when used in numbers that begin with 第“di4”? How about 一 路 车“yi lu4 che1” and 一 号“Yi1 hao4 ,” which are similar in usage, but perhaps not in structure?

I also have a question about how yi1 is used before larger numbers, like 十, 百, 千 (shi2, bai3, qian1), etc. When is its presence required and when is it permitted? I would guess that yi1 is required whenever it is the final digit of a larger number, such as in 21,0000 (er4 shi2 yi1 wan4), but what about before shi2, bai3, qian1, which do not occur in such combinations? For 11,1110, must I or can I say 一 十 一 万 一 千 一 百 一 十 "yi1 shi2 yi1 wan4 yi1 qian1 yi1 bai3 yi1 shi2"? Can I drop any or all of the occurrences of yi1 in any combination I want?

I also have a question about the use of yi1 to mean “no sooner” or “as soon as,” as in 他一回头就大声的开始企图圆谎“ta1 yi1 hui2 tuo2, jiu4 da4 sheng1 de5 kai1shi3 qi3tu2 yuan2 huang3” (As soon as he turned around, he began loudly trying to cover up his lie.) (By the way, is my Chinese okay?) Some of grammar books seem to say that yi1 undergoes its normal tone changes in this structure: i.e., 他一回头“ta1 yi4 hui2tou2” and 他一看“ta1 yi2 kan4.” Others seem to imply that it is always first tone.

A last series of questions I have concerns tone sande for 七 qi1 and 八ba1. I recall reading meaning years ago that these words change to second tone before fourth tone words, but have not seen this since, despite reading several excellent Chinese grammars and a few quite technical essays on tone sandhi in Mandarin. Does anyone recall anything about this? Could it possibly be a feature of Taiwan-based or classically oriented Mandarin?

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Hello Altair! I edited this into my "DEBATE 'ling'" post.

Except written, all (一yi1)s are used as cardinal numbers.

NO CHANGE

yi1 = yi1 (isolated) 一

yi1 + yi1 = yi1 yi1 (repeated) 一一

yi1(used as ordinal number) + any tone = yi1

一班*, 一时*, 一楼*, 一课*

CHANGE

yi1 + 1st tone = yi4 一井, 一千, 一般, 一班*

yi1 + 2nd tone = yi4 一石, 一头, 一层, 一棵, 一楼*

yi1 + 3rd tone = yi4 一百, 一国, 一时*

yi1 + 4th tone = yi2 一个, 一刻, 一客, 一半, 一课*

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tone sandhi (in Mandarin) has nothing to do with the previous word, such as 第 in 第一. But it is the following word that determines the tone of the previous word, such as 一 in 一百.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

不bu4

bu4 (isolated) = bu4

bu4 + 1st tone = bu4

bu4 + 2nd tone = bu4

bu4 + 3rd tone = bu4

bu4 + 4th tone = bu2

bu4 + 5th tone = bu4

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

他一回头就大声的开始企图圆谎.

Ta1 yi4 hui2 tou2 ...

一yi1 is followed by a 2nd tone, 回hui2, change 一yi1 >> 一yi4.

Your translation is perfect!

一yi1 is used with the meaning "as soon as"... but I prefer to translate it as "once", "one+whence". That is why it is used with the meaning of "as soon as".

I don't like to use the term tone sandhi, because sandhi is used to refer to Sanskrit, and it is a different idea. It was used for historical phonology to chart how the sounds of the language changed over the centuries. This "tone sandhi" can refer to a ton of things. One thing that you referred to(七,八) belongs to the dialect aspect of "tone sandhi". In a dialect, it is said like that. In Standard Mandarin, 七qi1, 八ba1 are always in the high level (1st)tone. There are some strong dialects that have penetrated into Beijing: 三san1>san2, 八ba1>ba2. < these are my approxiamations, they are actually written: san55>san25, ba55>ba25

I'm not sure which region this is from though.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some useless supplemental information:

First of all, in tone sandhi studies people use the "tone contour system". Each mora in Chinese is divided into 4 divisions, 5 pitches, the length of each neutral mora (when written in IPA, without the [ :] prolonging mark) is divided into 4 divisions, 5(I forgot what the musical word for length was in English) also. One can see the tone contour graph here>

http://www.chinese-outpost.com/language/pronunciation/pron0015.asp

(scroll down a bit)

Now mark from bottom to top, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, the tone pitches.

And mark from left to right, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, the "time divisions"(the musical word I forgot).

Now describe each tone starting from the left at time division 1, and moving right to time division5.

Modern Standard Mandarin tone contour:

Tone Tone contour

1st 55

2nd 35

3rd 214

4th 51

5th 11

By mastering this system of tones, you can produce all the tones in all the tonal languages all over the world. Thai, Cantonese, Yoruba, Mandarin... Japanese is also a debated tonal language...

China has languages, "languages", dialects, regional dialects, subdialects.

languages - Tibetan, Manchu, Chinese(Mandarin)...

"languages" - Guan(Mandarin), Yue(Cantonese), Hakka, Minnan(Fukkienese-Taiwanese), Minbei, Hui, Wu(Shanghaiese)....

dialects - Bei(also Mandarin in English, it's a bad term to use), Shandong, Gan, Dongbei, Yunnan... <<these are all dialects of Guan(Mandarin)

regional dialects - Guan>Shandong>Qi & Lu>Qingdao, Dezhou, Ji'nan, Tai'an ...

subdialects - further division... Tianjin has 2 subdialects, Beijing has alot...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I hope this solves the tone sandhi problem!

- Shibo :mrgreen:

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Tone sandhi has nothing to do with the previous word, such as 第 in 第一. But it is the following word that determines the tone of the previous word, such as 一 in 一百.

This does not apply to Wu dialects, which is kind of the opposite. There, tone sandhi is determined by the first syllable of a sandhi phrase (therefore doesn't have to be the immediate preceding syllable). The following syllables in Wu play no role at all in tone sandhi. Wu tone sandhi is a very different thing from Mandarin tone sandhi.

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  • 1 year later...

Just repeated one of my favorite mistakes while checking something in the dictionary: straying from the original entry to find some other piece of highly interesting, yet very time-consuming (alternatively: worthless) information.

What startled me this time was this short note under the entry for 七:

注意: ”七“字在第四声(去声)字前念第二声(阳平),如”七月“ qi2yue4;”七位“ qi2wei4。

I have heard of 一 and 不 changing tones, but never before of 七. Are there more? (I checked the other numerals, no similar entries for them)

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Gougou, thanks for posting your find. I had wondered if I had begun to go senile.

I went scurrying to one of my dictionaries (汉语大辞典, 吴光华 主编, published by Jiaotong University in Shanghai) and found more or less the same entry for 七.

I also looked under 八 ("ba1"). Lo and behold, I found the following note: 〔zhuyi〕"八"字在去声(第四声)前念阳平(第二声)、如"八次"读作〔ba2ci4〕、"八岁"读作〔ba2sui4〕。

I really am beginning to wonder what is going on here.:wall Apparently, no body actually speaks this way, but why do some dictionaries still show this pronunciation?

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Apparently, no body actually speaks this way, but why do some dictionaries still show this pronunciation?
Since dictionaries are supposed to be records of putonghua, it's conceivable that they sometimes record standards that nobody actually uses.

(This is only a generalisation, and does not refer directly to the (non)existence of the variant pronunciation of 七 and 八)

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Not being a native speaker, I'm not really sure if people do or don't pronounce 七 and 八 as second tones before a fourth tone, and all the pinyin I ever see is written character-for-character... but when I speak Chinese, I do find myself unconsciously pronouncing 七 and 八 as second tones before fourth tones. It just seems more natural - as does changing tones for 一 and 不. If I want to pronounce them as first tones before fourth tones, I have to make a conscious effort to do so, it seems harder. Since I'd never seen anything about pronouncing them as second tones, I always thought I was wrong, until I saw it written in a high school exam guide published in Malaysia, and I've wondered about it ever since...

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In my first year of learning Chinese, I learned of the tone change of 七 and 八. But after that I never heard of it again, never paid any attention to changing the tones when I speak myself. Do native speakers do it?

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you. I guess I am finding it confusing that the (written) pinyin tones are not always what the actual pronounciation should be. It would make more sense to me, if a word's pinyin was adjusted to reflect the contents of the rest of the sentence, but, oh well. I guess, if you are studying Mandarin using pinyin, then you really need to engrain these tone rules in your mind.

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  • 15 years later...
On 2/6/2006 at 3:05 PM, Lu said:

In my first year of learning Chinese, I learned of the tone change of 七 and 八

Actually there is also a tone change with 三. For instance 三块钱 is pronounced as san2 kuai4 qian2. 

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On 2/6/2006 at 10:05 PM, Lu said:

In my first year of learning Chinese, I learned of the tone change of 七 and 八. But after that I never heard of it again, never paid any attention to changing the tones when I speak myself. Do native speakers do it?

 

Qíge “Seven (Persons).” In the speech of many Chinese, the number qī “seven,” which is normally Tone One, changes to Tone Two when standing directly before a syllable in Tone Four. The same is true of the number bā “eight.” In other words: qī + ge → qíge bā + ge → báge These are considered optional tone changes, since not everyone makes them. It is not incorrect to say qīge and bāge without the tone change. 

 

Kubler,Cornelius C.. Basic Spoken Chinese (Basic Chinese) (p. 142). Tuttle Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

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  • 1 year later...
On 5/12/2004 at 10:58 AM, shibo77 said:

Hello Altair! I edited this into my "DEBATE 'ling'" post.

Except written, all (一yi1)s are used as cardinal numbers.

NO CHANGE

yi1 = yi1 (isolated) 一

yi1 + yi1 = yi1 yi1 (repeated) 一一

yi1(used as ordinal number) + any tone = yi1

一班*, 一时*, 一楼*, 一课*

CHANGE

yi1 + 1st tone = yi4 一井, 一千, 一般, 一班*

yi1 + 2nd tone = yi4 一石, 一头, 一层, 一棵, 一楼*

yi1 + 3rd tone = yi4 一百, 一国, 一时*

yi1 + 4th tone = yi2 一个, 一刻, 一客, 一半, 一课*

 

Can anyone make sense of this? (i.e. my highlights). Does it not contradict itself?

 

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