Practicing Tones

Practicing Tones

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You must first complete Introduction to Pinyin before viewing this Lesson

Now that we have been introduced to pinyin let’s learn about tones with Yoyo Chinese.

*HINT: take notes while watching this video! Your notes will help you in your quiz!*

*Yoyo Chinese is an excellent resource for you to use while learning Chinese, and highly recommended by me!*


First tone  –  MAYbe          Second tone  –  What?          Third tone  –  Uh…         Fourth tone  –  No!

First tone – High, flat tone           Second tone – Rising tone

     Third tone – Low, dipping tone         Fourth tone  –  Short, sharp tone


Chinese is a tonal language which uses tones. Tones are inflections or pitch changes used in your voice to indicate a meaning. Tones are very important to learn and master, because they are an indicator of specific meanings in Chinese!

Below you can see that the pinyin/pronunciation is the same for all these words. The only difference is their tone

Mā             Má

   Mom                      sesame 

Mǎ             Mà

 horse                        scold

From this we can gather that when the tone changes, the English meaning changes.



Study/Practice Materials:

Watch the video above for guidance on how to use this website to train your ear to recognize tones. Spend sometime listening and distinguishing tones as well as familiarizing yourself with more pinyin.
Once at the site check “show pinyin,” turn up your volume, and then click on the word. Once you know which tone it is speaking select your answer, then click next.
对 duì means right     
不对 bú duì means wrong

Hint hint! There is a tones test next class, so use this site to help prepare yourself for your quiz as much as YOU need.

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