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DanielG

Frequency of tone combinations

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DanielG    7
DanielG

Since Chinese words quite often occur in two character combinations, I thought it might be useful to categorize the two character words I've learned by their tone combinations.  I've kept a list for a few years, and never developed a mnemonic method to use it, but since I have collected this data, I thought I might just share it.  It turns out that it is far more common for a two character word to end on a 4th tone than on another tone, and far less common to end on a 5th (neutral) tone.  Probably this has no practical value beyond "when in doubt, end on a 4th tone," but I thought it might be interesting to some of you anyway, so below is an attached graph of the data.

 

graph.png

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歐博思    105
歐博思

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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roddy    3,564
roddy

Hmmm, I wouldn't have expected to see those spikes. Does this take into account word frequency?

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DanielG    7
DanielG

Not at all, but the selection is quite random as the list consists simply of words I encountered that I thought were worth remembering. Every time I add a two-character word to my vocabulary list in Pleco, I also add it to one of 20 tone pair categories I created for this purpose. Most of the words came from textbooks - Integrated Chinese and NPCR, and the others are words I've picked up in conversations with my Chinese friends.

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realmayo    1,486
realmayo

Interesting ... I've always thought there were more fourth tones full stop.

A quick, rough look at around 15k words that I should know indicates:

tone of final character / percent

1    18%
2    21%
3    16%
4    38%
5    6%

And for the (old) 6.6k HSK list:

1    15%
2    20%
3    15%
4    42%
5    8%

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889    579
889

1. The OP ignores the 33-->23 shift, understating the prevalence of 23.

 

2. Light tone usage varies regionally; if the OP used dictionary readings not what he hears (if in Beijing), then he probably underestimates the prevalance of light tone,.

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DanielG    7
DanielG
25 minutes ago, 889 said:

 

1. The OP ignores the 33-->23 shift, understating the prevalence of 23.

 

2. Light tone usage varies regionally; if the OP used dictionary readings not what he hears (if in Beijing), then he probably underestimates the prevalance of light tone,.

 

Both good points though 1. doesn't change the predominance of ending on a 4th tone, and 2. is rather hard to quantify.

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