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Tone Lesson 10 – Chinese Tone Change Rules: Two Fourth Tones Together

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PINYIN TONE CHANGE RULE: CHINESE TWO FOURTH TONES TOGETHER

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!

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How to Pronounce Chinese Two Fourth Tones Together

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.

"Chinese two Fourth Tones together" is an important Mandarin Pinyin Tone change rule to sound native. Watch and learn how to master this Pinyin Tone Sandhi.
Chinese Two Fourth Tones Together

 

Half Fourth Tone VS. Original Full Fourth Tone

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.

"Chinese two Fourth Tones together" is an important Mandarin Pinyin Tone change rule to sound native. Watch and learn how to master this Pinyin Tone Sandhi.
Chinese Two Fourth Tones Together: Half Fouth Tone vs. Full Fourth Tone

Pinyin Tone Change Rule: Chinese Two Fourth Tones Together

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

HALF FOURTH TONE + FULL FOURTH TONE

GROUP 1
PINYIN 汉字 ENGLISH
zhào lì 照例 as usual
zài jiàn  再见  goodbye 
shuì jiào  睡觉  to sleep 
kàn jiàn  看见  to see 
SENTENCE
wǒ kànjiàn tā zhàolì zài shuìjiào .
我看见他照例在睡觉。
I see that he was sleeping like usual..

HALF FOURTH TONE + FULL FOURTH TONE

GROUP 2
PINYIN 汉字 ENGLISH
shì jiè 世界 world
zuì jìn  最近  recently; lately 
zhòng yào  重要  important 
huì yì  会议  meeting; conference 
SENTENCE
wǒ zuì jìn méi yǒu zhòng yào huì yì
我最近没有重要会议。
I haven’t had any important meetings lately.
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