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I've been learning about it for a year now, and yet still have some troubles with understanding it exactly.

Within words, it's easy. ie. 老虎

simple doubles are easy, like 请你

but what about stuff like 请你把借书证。。。 or 请你把你的借书证。。。

I've heard with strings of tones of 3, 3, 3, 3, ... you can either do 2, 3, 2, 3, or you can do 2, 2, 2, 3. I heard different stuff all the time. So with the last two examples I would just raise them all to 2nd tones (qing2 ni2 ba2 ni3 de ...)

Also, what about 点儿 in the sentence "我要喝一点儿水". Do you raise 点儿 up to second tone? I guess you could do it.... but it just sounds funny doing that...

Are there any "rules" on this that anyone has insight on?

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One more! How about in this sentence:


would the 我 raise to second tone? Should you put a pause between 我 and 你?


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Yeah, thanks, but sadly I've already read through that thread and didn't find anything to help me with my questions. The second post of mine was actually a copy from a post a guy put in that thread, but nobody seemed to find an answer for it.


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把 is used to emphasis the object of a sentence.


Please give me that book.


Please give me that book.

I think rows of third tones are dependant upon the phrasing

qing3 - ni2 ba3 - ni3de

likewise the 一點水 would be

yi1dian3 - shui3

and 請告訴我你的電話

qing3 ni3 gao4su4 wo3 ni3de dian4hua4

I have never been taught this, just picked it up from listening to natives talking over here... although when people are chatting at a faster pace it does start to sound like 2 2 2 3


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Good explanation.

But, this

likewise the 一點水 would be

yi1dian3 - shui3

should be yi4 dian3 shui3

I personally would go yi4 dian2 shui3, but that's just me.

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  • 4 months later...
If I never changed my 3rd tones would that be WRONG and NOT understandable?
It would sound a bit unnatural but still be understandable (That is to assume that you say the tone correctly in the first place).

Anyway, generally speaking:

If you say the tone correctly and there're more than one third tone in succession, you can say all the words with 3rd tone unmodified but that will slow your speech down considerably. Native speakers have to modify the third tone when it occurs in succession in order to keep speaking at their normal speed, and this will happen naturally as a physical process without conscious effort on the part of the speaker. For this reason, when you ask an untrained native speaker how they modify their third tone, they will often tell you incorrectly how they do it. :mrgreen:

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semantic nuance

I think if you pronunce each 3rd tone character in a row without sandhi, poeple will still understand you though you speak much slower and will sound much like a robot. Read the sentence: 請把你的手轉一轉. (original tone:3 3 3 5 3 3 4 3). The change of tones really depends on where you pause in the sentence, but of course with a meaningful pause.

A rough rule is when 33 together, read it like 23. So:

A. if you pause at 請, then 把你的手, and finally 轉一轉, then the tones are (請3), (把2你3的手3), (轉3ㄧ轉3)

B. if you break sentence like 請把, 你的手, 轉一轉, then the tones are 請2把3, 你3的手3, 轉3一轉3.

C. if you break sentence like 請把你的手, 轉一轉, then the tones are 請2把2你3的手3, 轉3一轉3.

Hope it helps!:)

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