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Weird tone inconsistencies with some two character words


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I encountered some strange inconsistencies regarding the tone of the last character in some two character words.

Let's take the following words:


I'm specifially referring to the second syllables, in this case 边 and 上.

Here is the Pinyin of that is being put out by different online dictionaries:


1. Google Translate

Yòubiān. Zuǒbiān. Pángbiān.            ->BIAN 1st, 1st, 1st
Zǎoshang. Wǎnshàng.                      ->SHANG Neutral, 4th
Zǎoshang hǎo. Wǎnshàng hǎo.      ->SHANG Neutral, 4th


2. ChineseConverter.com
yòu biān 。 zuǒ biān 。 páng biān 。        ->BIAN 1st, 1st, 1st
zǎo shàng 。 wǎn shàng 。                       ->SHANG 4th, 4th
zǎo shàng hǎo 。 wǎn shàng hǎo 。        ->SHANG 4th, 4th


3. CC-Cedict:
zuǒ bian. yòu bian. páng biān.              ->BIAN   Neutral, Neutral, 1st
zǎo shang. wǎn shang                           ->SHANG Neutral, Neutral
zǎo shang hǎo. wǎn shàng hǎo.           ->SHANG Neutral, 4th


It seems like none of the dictionaries agree.


Is there a definitive answer about which dictionary is correct and which isn't?

Or maybe I am unaware of some tone rule?


Any clarification would be highly appreciated!

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Hello, welcome to the forum.


Not sure what  your level is but it seems you haven't come across the 3rd tone change rule or commonly known as tone sandhi.

If you notice all the changes are after a 3rd tone.


I suggest you have a read of this https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/pronunciation/Tone_change_rules


It explains it much better than I could. One reason for your confusion is that although the tone changes you don't generally write it differently but sometimes for teaching purposes it will be shown with a different tone mark.


Hope this helps.

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I also have never read a rule anout this, but over the last year of study, i seem to have noticed they could be pronounced either way you4bian1 or you4bian or you4bianr. I have not come across pang2bian with a neutrel tone.


Its fuzzy in my head to. I feel like it the neutral tone version is more casual (?) and or maybe more northern? Ive noticed this with many other words  ie. shi4qin2/shi4qin, jia4qian2 /jia4qian. So far ive just rolled with it and said either or, but im curious as well. 

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The main thing I found confusing wasn't the tone change itself, but the inconsistency between the different dictionaries. But as someone on another forum pointed out, tone neutralization often occurs on the final characters of popular words, and some dictionaries write it into the pinyin in order to emphasize it, while others leave the original tone - hence the inconsistency.

Thanks to all commenters for their input.

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