We have practiced the Fourth Tone in Lesson 4, and today we will practice a Pinyin Tone change rule of the Fourth Tone. That is “Chinese Two Fourth Tones Together”. This is a very important Pinyin Tone Sandhi for learners who want to sound native. Basically, when there are two Fourth Tones together, the first one becomes a Half Fourth Tone. Let's practice and master the pronunciation!
When to pronounce the Fourth Tone, we start very high, and then immediately drop down. The original Fourth Tone sounds very quick and firm, to the point that some learners might even feel that it sounds angry. As shown in the picture, the Fourth Tone drops from 5 to 1. If there are two Fourth Tones together, to pronounce the second one we need to jump from the lowest all the way to the highest. This is not the most relaxed pronunciation to do, so people tend to compensate and make the first one a Half Fourth Tone, which does not drop all the way down but stops semi-high in the middle.
In a 2-syllable word, when there are two Fourth Tones together, syllable 1 becomes a Half Fourth Tone and syllable 2 stays as the Original Full Fourth Tone. This Pinyin Tone change rule might not be as much discussed as Two Third Tones together or the Neutral Tone. But if you want to sound more natural and native, some practice on this Pinyin Tone Sandhi is beneficial.
For the 2-syllables words below, syllable 1 is pronounced in the Half Fourth Tone syllable, while syllable 2 is pronounced in its Original Full Fourth Ton
|zhào lì||照例||as usual|
|shuì jiào||睡觉||to sleep|
|kàn jiàn||看见||to see|
|wǒ kànjiàn tā zhàolì zài shuìjiào .|
|I see that he was sleeping like usual..|
|zuì jìn||最近||recently; lately|
|huì yì||会议||meeting; conference|
|wǒ zuì jìn méi yǒu zhòng yào huì yì|
|I haven’t had any important meetings lately.|