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Jimmy J

Mandarin 3rd tone concern

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Jimmy J

Hi,

I am a new Mandarin learner and have been following the Paul Noble basic mandarin course (audio )

He teaches that the 3rd tone is a falling/rising tone, which I have now mastered.

 

However I have now found the excellent YoYo Chinese you tube videos and she advises that the third tone is only a falling/rising tone when it's pronounced in isolation. Paul Noble never says this in his course.

So does this mean that for example when pronouncing bing shui, the shui part is pronounced as a low flat tone only? Paul Noble has taught it as a falling/rising tone

I'm worried now that my first 3 weeks of learning the tones have made me learn this tone wrongly?

Thanks,

Jimmy

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Jimmy J

Hi,

I have just spoken to a Chinese lady in a local shop and she said she has never heard of the 3rd tone being pronounced in any other way than a falling/rising tone.

Now I am very confused :(

Jimmy

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889

At the risk of seeming didactic, the discussion at the link I provided is correct.

 

And by the way, what counts isn't what a native speaker says they think they say, it's what they actually say. Have a discussion in Chinese with the lady in the store -- assuming she's a native speaker and not an oversea Chinese -- and listen carefully.

 

(Always giving third tone its full value -- and forgetting tone sandhi -- is actually a mocked characteristic of foreigner Chinese. Some years ago it wasn't uncommon to hear a taxi driver or local low life yell out a horribly sounded 你好 to taunt you as you walked by. [We normally don't talk about these things but we all know they used to happen, always when you were walking alone, never when with a Chinese.])

 

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Shelley

Post deleted to avoid confusion.

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889

No Shelley, you are confusing the OP. Tone sandhi is a different issue.

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Shelley

@889 Ok I will delete it.

 

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Shelley

I do think that the whole 3rd tone is on said only in isolation because it depends on where the last characters tone ended. Not sure how to advise the OP as I am not sure if there are any rules about it and if is just one of those things you learn as you go.

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889

It's not that difficult. At the end of a sentence or before a natural pause, a third tone can have its full value. Otherwise in normal running speech it's abbreviated to almost just the low tone. Of course this is "third tone" after adjusting for any tone sandhi. See that link!

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Shelley

@889Oh I deleted that link to avoid confusion.

 

This one:

Third tone sandhi[edit]

The principal rule of third tone sandhi is:

  • When there are two consecutive third-tone syllables, the first of them is pronounced with second tone.

For example, lǎoshǔ老鼠 ("mouse") comes to be pronounced láoshǔ [lau̯˧˥ʂu˨˩]. It has been investigated whether the rising contour (˧˥) on the prior syllable is in fact identical to a normal second tone; it has been concluded that it is, at least in terms of auditory perception.[1]:237

When there are three or more third tones in a row, the situation becomes more complicated, since a third tone that precedes a second tone resulting from third tone sandhi may or may not be subject to sandhi itself. The results may depend on word boundaries, stress, and dialectal variations. General rules for three-syllable third-tone combinations can be formulated as follows:

  1. If the first word is two syllables and the second word is one syllable, then the first two syllables become second tones. For example, bǎoguǎn hǎo 保管好 ("to take good care of") takes the pronunciation báoguán hǎo [pau̯˧˥kwan˧˥xau̯˨˩˦].
  2. If the first word is one syllable, and the second word is two syllables, the second syllable becomes second tone, but the first syllable remains third tone. For example: lǎo bǎoguǎn 老保管("to take care of all the time") takes the pronunciation lǎo báoguǎn [lau̯˨˩pau̯˧˥kwan˨˩˦].

Some linguists have put forward more comprehensive systems of sandhi rules for multiple third tone sequences. For example, it is proposed[1]:248 that modifications are applied cyclically, initially within rhythmic feet (trochees; see below), and that sandhi "need not apply between two cyclic branches."

 

From Wikipedia

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889

I meant the link in my first post to the time we discussed this same issue here ten years ago.

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Shelley

Well as we have cleared up the fact its not tone sandhi that the OP is asking about but that it may have some bearing the discussion, I will leave my excerpt from Wikipedia in my post.

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suMMit

@op   

 

Ive found very liitle value in asking native speakers to "teach" you anything, unless they are actual teachers. How much do most people know about the mechanics of their own language? Better to practice with average(non linguist) native speakers, and dont look for advice from them on learning from tgem.

 

I think yoyo is excellent by the way, i have been doing their full course for almost a year.

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Jimmy J

My apologies if I'm sounding a tad ignorant here, but I'm still none the wiser reading 889's linked webpage as to how this applies specifically to my example.

I am very new to Chinese learning and am embarrassed to need a more basic explanation :) 

I'm very pleased though to have found this forum as everyone seems very willing to help us newbies

 

So, to pronounce "bing shui" , the shui part is pronounced as a low flat tone, is that correct?

But to pronounce "Shui" by itself would utilise the falling/rising tone?

Thanks

Jimmy

 

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889

If you're reading the word 冰水 all by itself, going down a vocabulary list for example, then 水 will take the full third tone value, because there'll be a pause after the word.

 

If you're saying 冰水 in a running sentence, then 水 will take the abbreviated low value (unless at the end of the sentence or before a natural pause).

 

你喜不喜欢冰水喝?

你喜不喜欢冰水?

 

 

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Jimmy J

Thanks 889, you have answered my query

Also thankyou for taking the time to do so, it is appreciated :)

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Tomsima
15 hours ago, Jimmy J said:

low flat tone

 

I feel like this wording is wrong, I don't think it's right to describe the tone as flat. That being said, the only thing we really can say is, yes the tone is different, and the best way to learn the difference is to listen to lots of tone pairs and get an ear for it yourself

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Jimmy J

This video here is what is confusing me . I was wondering please if anyone could assess what he says and tell me if he is correct in his explanation please?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3kofJPUQt8

 

Thanks,

Jimmy

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suMMit

<<>>This video here is what is confusing me . I was wondering please if anyone could assess what he says and tell me if he is correct in his explanation please?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3kofJPUQt8

 

I agree with him 100 percent. That guy, Luke, actually speaks fatastic chinese as well (puts his money where his mouth is and posts himself speaking online, not just writes\talks ABOUT it).  This is also the way Yoyo teaches the third tone and if i remeber correctly the Hacking Chinese guy as well.

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