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3rd tone + 3rd tone = 2nd tone + ?


0x2eleven

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On this website, the author says that when a 3rd tone comes before a 3rd tone, the first 3rd tone should become a second tone and the last 3rd tone should become a half third tone. So, hen3hao3 is really something like hen2hao3 but with hao3 really being a half third tone. The problem is, while I've heard of changing the first third tone to a second tone, I've never heard of changing the second third tone to a half third tone except for on this web page.

Can anyone verify that what the author is saying is true?

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In normal, everyday speech, utterance-final 3rd tone usually has contour values of 2-1-1 instead of the textbook 2-1-4. You will rarely hear a full dipping-and-rising 3rd tone, unless it's said in isolation or for emphasis.

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You will rarely hear a full dipping-and-rising 3rd tone, unless it's said in isolation or for emphasis.

...or if it stands at the end of the utterance not followed by another syllable.

The third tone becomes the second if preceding another third tone and is realized as half third tone if preceding any other syllable...

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You will rarely hear a full dipping-and-rising 3rd tone, unless it's said in isolation or for emphasis.

So do you mean that in, for example, 很好,the "hao" is more like a 4th tone. I'm really surprised because i've heard it so many times pronounced as a 3rd tone in this situation.

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This might help. quite possibly this also. Textbooks often fail to teach this well / at all.

Don't make the mistake of likening it to the fourth tone - one's a quick fall from a height, one's a low start and a lower continuation.

And the get better at tones topic is always worth a long read.

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So do you mean that in, for example, 很好,the "hao" is more like a 4th tone. I'm really surprised because i've heard it so many times pronounced as a 3rd tone in this situation

Take a situation, where 很好 is just a short answer to a question, not followed by anything else (or after a pause). This is one of those rare cases, where you can hear a full fledged 3rd tone on 好. If 很好 forms a part of a longer utterance, like 这是一个很好的消息, then 好 is realized as half third tone, i.e. there is only the falling part (starting in a relatively low position and falling even lower).

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Take a situation, where 很好 is just a short answer to a question, not followed by anything else (or after a pause). This is one of those rare cases, where you can hear a full fledged 3rd tone on 好.

Where you might hear it - it's still more likely you wouldn't. I thought I'd copied out a quote about this way back, turns out I only paraphrased, but it's here anyway, at the end of the post.

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I know this sort of thing gets discussed ad nauseam, but I have to ask, because I run into so much conflicting information. This is concerning tone sandhi of third tones.

Wǒ hěn hǎo.

Should this be pronounced as:

A. Wo21 hen35 hao214

B. Wo35 hen35 hao214 (this technique seems to be the most commonly mentioned, but it's awkward in practice, and I am not convinced that it's legit)

or

C. Something else?

And how would a three-third-tones-in-a-row pattern be affected by having the third word being followed by a non-third tone? Simply changing the final third tone to a half third, right?

And what if it includes four or more in a row? This is all assuming no pauses.

Wǒ xiǎng mǎi hǎo mǎ.

How would that get pronounced? Simply changing all but the last word in the string of third tones to a second tone seems highly awkward.

And considering the half third tones...I don't really hear a fall (21). It's just a fast blip to my ear, and I'd prefer to think of it as either a 11 blip or a 22 blip. Which do you think is better to think of the half third tone as, 11 or 22? I can say that I can totally relate to the thread about the 3rd tone tearing your throat apart, so I hope 22 is sufficiently low.

And do you think the full third tone is more of a 213 or a 214? Because you certainly see both mentioned in credible sources. Though 214 seems to be what's listed more often. I suppose a lot of it depends on what part of Greater China you're in.

Thanks for your time. If I see any of this stuff come up again in the future, I promise I'll help someone else with it, that way you don't have to.

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Thanks, and I appreciate the input. But a simple "learn with your ears, not your eyes" suggestion isn't exactly what I had in mind. I don't intend to try Anki until I'm ready to start learning characters/buy an iPad. I'll try to remember to revisit that link when the time comes, though...but it will be a few months.

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I don't think that there are strict rules about this. I've heard native speakers pronounce these things differently, and even the same native speaker pronouncing them differently based on what is being stressed, or how fast it's being said.

In general, you apply third tone sandhi to things which "belong together". Like a word, or a predicate, or some such.

Personally, I would say wo3hen2hao3, and wo3 xiang2mai3 hao2ma3 (this sounds awkward, but you were probably looking for a random example).

IMHO, half third tones are so fast that it makes no sense to think of them as falling or rising. It's just a fleeting low thing.

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Just in my experience, thinking of 3rd tones as being low and rising depending on the following tones or just hanging out down there, and realizing all the things that renzhe said about stress and emphasis and natural variation between speakers and within a certain speaker's feeling (i.e., how emotional and what kind of emotion they're saying the sentence with) and being conscious of all of that while listening a whole whole lot have got me feeling pretty confident in pronunciation and recognition of 3rd tones (as well as the others). Reading along with dialog is great because you get an immediate check, or at least can go check to verify you heard what you thought you heard (granted, this is when you know enough characters to be able to read. A while ago Hofmann posted a link to a site that had audio, pinyin, and Chinese text that you may find helpful, but I have it saved on another computer and can't find it right now).

All of that is to say that it's incredibly complex and there's no way that I can imagine that you can break down the behavior of 3rd tones into a single or even a few patterns, because they're so volatile depending on their surroundings and the speaker and all that other stuff mentioned above, so doing lots and lots of listening is really the only way I think it can be done, at least in a natural way. Trying to break down the behavior into a general rule will have you speaking haltingly and unnaturally based on my experience, mostly because the best we can do is a general rule, and that obviously doesn't help when dealing with specific situations.

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IMHO, half third tones are so fast that it makes no sense to think of them as falling or rising. It's just a fleeting low thing.

Totally this. And most third tones are half anyway (I say virtually all of mine as half tones), which you can just pronounce as a low tone.

I might say "wo2 xiang2 mai3 hao2 ma3" or something else depending on whether I was thinking too hard. It doesn't really matter, these situations are rare and people will understand you anyway. Continued exposure to native speakers will naturally shape your tones and pronunciation to their system, and pronunciations/tones can differ significantly between groups and regions.

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