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Pall

Showing tones with colour

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Pall

Maybe some find it interesting. Since when using mupin  (Cyrilic based transcription) it's not possible to use tone symbols above letters, only numbers can be used, I decided to show tones with colour if the script is electronic (1 - orange, 2 - red, 3 - green, 4 - blue). Also I came to a conclusion that it was better not to show tones at all in cases when I knew for sure what tone it should be. It makes the transcription script easier to remember. 
An example
 

Сун Йюе хэ Ԝанъ Ђинъ ляо Ԝанъ Ђинъ дэ нан пэнъйоу

Сун Йюе:       Тинъ шуо ни дэ нан пэнъйоу Ли Ђин гэн ни ши йи гэ
сюесяо дэ, ши ни тонъсюе ма?

Ԝанъ Ђинъ:  Ши дэ, та сюе дэ син wэн, wо сюе фа лъю, wо хэ та
бу ши йи гэ бан.

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Moshen

The app TofuChinese displays each tone in a different color - there are five options, including neutral tone.

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Pall

Yes, it improves the perception. But in my case I decided not to use another marks for tones at the same time, since numbers are not convinient. And even use colour not always. It trains the ability to remember necessary tone depending on the situation - when it should be shì and when shí.

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imron

I strongly disagree with using colours for tones because:

 

1. Your eyes will automatically group things of the same colour. 

2. In Chinese you want your eyes to group words together

3. In Chinese characters within words regularly have different tones

 

It therefore follows that your eyes will be grouping things that are not words and separating things that are words.  Tone colours may help provide a mental trigger for remembering the tone of an individual syllable, but it is ultimately detrimental to long-term learning outcomes.

 

 

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roddy

Never hard of mupin before, but if it doesn't show tones... fine for showing Chinese names in a newspaper article, but wouldn't a learner be better off with... well, anything that shows tones. This seems like a substantial flaw. Is it widely used in textbooks or dictionaries?

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imron
4 minutes ago, roddy said:

Never hard of mupin before

You've stopped reading the Pinyinput thread it seems :P

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roddy

Yeah, you seemed to have that one pretty well under control. 

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Pall
14 minutes ago, roddy said:

Never hard of mupin before, but if it doesn't show tones... fine for showing Chinese names in a newspaper article, but wouldn't a learner be better off with... well, anything that shows tones. This seems like a substantial flaw. Is it widely used in textbooks or dictionaries?

There are some rare books based on it (never confuse with the official system also based on Cyrillic). The method was disigned several years ago when pinyin was widely used, therefore it gained only limited room among its fans. It shows tones with numbers after syllables. I wanted to ask Imron to adopt pinyinput for mupin, but it was found out that in some cases there would be two diacritic signs in the same syllable, and sometimes even the same diacritic signs like the one in the letter 'й'. 

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Pall

@imron In Russian there are only two diacritics, and only for two letters, "й" and "ё". With "ё" there is even less problems, than with "ü" in pinyin, since in mupin the tone symble will never be above it. And the tone symbol will never appear above  "й" either.  It can be endured that there will be additional diacritics for tones in some syllables with these two letters. The only problem arises with syllables with  "й"    when there should be the third tone symbol. I propose just to use another diacritic for the third tone, maximally different to the one in   "й"    . For example, there is a good one in northern European languages - å. Maybe it would be better to make it a little bigger. I suppose it's a very distinctive symbol for the 3rd tone. What do you think?

Sorry, I decided to use pinyin after all. It's not the most important thing in learning Chinese what transcription system to use. You're right, tones should be shown with symbols, colour can be used only in addition. 

 

Edited by Pall
additional information

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Shelley

A very popular dictionary app called Hanping already uses a tone colouring system and IIRC so do a couple of other learning systems.

There seems to be a convention of what colours to use for each tone, may I suggest you use this convention so as to have continuity across all systems.

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

neutral

 

In systems that use it, they do use it for all characters, so not having it for the whole text is a bit confusing unless you are supposed to know the ones not coloured.

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Pall
2 minutes ago, Shelley said:

A very popular dictionary app called Hanping already uses a tone colouring system and IIRC so do a couple of other learning systems.

There seems to be a convention of what colours to use for each tone, may I suggest you use this convention so as to have continuity across all systems.

 

Thank you! The colours are the same, only the correspondence to the tones is different. You're right, it's better to use standard version. As to the use of colours not for all characters, I do it only when I know the tones very well. It's additional training to underdstand with minimum information. 

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Shelley

Yes, the colours are the same but you used them to represent different tones.

Yes using it for only new characters is a good idea.

 

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Sobria-Ebritas

IMHO, trying to learn the Chinese tones using different colors is psycholinguistically, and even commonsensically, insane.

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Pall
1 hour ago, Sobria-Ebritas said:

trying to learn the Chinese tones using different colors is psycholinguistically, and even commonsensically, insane.

 

I agree with you. That's why I changed my mind and concentrated on another approach, which is ideally suitable for memorizing tones and other
https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/59088-transcription-table-according-to-the-endings-to-learn-characters/

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Sobria-Ebritas

De gustibus non est disputandum. Having said that, I wonder to what extent the way tones should be learned is a matter of taste. As matter of fact, to the extent that tones are inextricably linked with syllables, and syllables are audibly discernible segments made up of one or more sounds, I can't understand why so many people think that looking at colors is an excellent way to master the pronunciation of Chinese (tones included, of course). Frankly, I think those people are doing themselves a disservice, and would be better off listening and repeating what they want to learn.

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889

Pleco lets you do this, and you can assign the colours to your own taste.

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roddy

I’ve got all mine set to black. It’s what Chinese people do. 
 

That was facetious, but more seriously, * I think Chinese elementary school textbooks go from pinyin, to characters with pinyin over, to characters with tone marks over, to characters alone. 

 

* PS Edit: I woke up this morning a bit more sober and realised this isn't actually the case. They go from pinyin over the characters, to characters. There's no stage with tone marks over characters. Apologies. 

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Pall
On 10/26/2019 at 1:34 AM, roddy said:

I’ve got all mine set to black.

 

I did so, too. When characters are learnt in advance, at least most part of those that one can encounter in his texts (as I proposed with the help of the syllabals table), there is no need to show even pinyin over characters. A limited number of characters with varying pinyin and tones as well as new characters can be memorized directly, without additional cushion.

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Mijin

I don't need tone coloring to help me read, but I still use colors in apps like Pleco.

The reason is, say I am learning a new character. The tone is essentially arbitrary. So if I just have a tone mark, it's possible every now and then to glance too quickly at it, pronounce the word wrong in my head, and then commit it to memory incorrectly. Showing color as well as the tone mark just makes slip ups like that less likely.

(of course best is to play the audio of the word, but there are plenty of times that isn't practical (no headphones, looking up a word during a group class etc))

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