Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Vietnamese tones and Mandarin tones


Recommended Posts

Hi. First of all I want to say that I know Mandarin. I just want to know that if there's any similar (or at least close) between Mandarin and Vietnamese tones. I know how to pronouns it but when my friend asked me, I just can't explain to him/her.

Oh, by the way, this is my pronunciation for both Vietnamese and Mandarin tones for people who don't know the tones:

here is my pronunciation of 6 vietnamese tones: a á à ả ã ạ ; ma má mà mả mã mạ


and here is my pronounciation of 4 mandarin tones: 妈 麻 马 唛


excuse me for my bad mandarin :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A rough search in a dictionary yields:







sắc with ending consonant:陰入

nặng with ending consonant:陽入

Therefore, almost all ngang tones should correspond to Mandarin tone 1. Almost all huyền tones should correspond to Mandarin tone 2. Hỏi and ngã tones should correspond to Mandarin tone 3. Sắc and nặng tones should correspond to Mandarin tone 4.

As to whether or not some Mandarin tones sound like Vietnamese tones, I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Vietnamese Ngang Tone corresponds to Tone 1 in Mandarin and Vietnamese Hoi Tone corresponds to Tone 3. However (and this is what is difficult to me to adjust to after speaking Vietnamese for so long) the Sac tone in Vietnamese is much more strong than Tone 2 in Mandarin. Similarly, Tone 4 in Mandarin is like a mix between the Huyen and Nang tones in Vietnamese.

Its interesting how tones shift when translated from Mandarin to Han-Viet though. I've notived that a lot of words reverse the tone (for example hun2 (soul) becomes hồn; some words stay the same though, like zhong1 becomes trung, hao3 becomes hảo, etc etc)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • New Members


I am vietnamese, i am learning a little bit mandarin, i would think:

Vietnamese Ngang tone corresponds to tone 1 in Mandarin, Hoi tone corresponds to tone 2 or tone shandi of two 3rd tone, Nga tone there is no corresponding in Mandarin tone, Nang tone corresponds to tone 3 and Sac tone to tone 4.

The Vietnamese Huyen tone corresponds to the Tone 3.5 like the tone shandi of a 3rd before a 4th tone in Mandarin.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

With the "layers" of Sino-Vietnamese borrowing (similar to kan-on, go-on etc. in Japanese), things can get murky quite quickly, despite the neat system of tone correspondences quoted above.

Edited by Michaelyus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The safest approach is not to learn one tone system through another even if you believe there are some correspondences.

Once you've mastered the system on a very solid ground, only then that you should think of taking advantage of the similarity.

I believe that as far as tones go, if you learn them erroneously at the beginning, you'll have to spend years to correct the mistakes, so I don't think the shortcuts are really worth it :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...