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Tone Lesson 8 – Chinese Tone Change Rule: Half 3rd Tone (1)

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CHINESE PINYIN THIRD TONE: PRONUNCIATION 3 - HALF THIRD TONE

There are three ways to pronounce the Chinese Pinyin Third Tone:

Today we will learn the Half Third Tone. It is also called the Mandarin low Tone. This is another example of Mandarin Chinese Tone rules. And we will practice it along the video.

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Mandarin Chinese Third Tone: Three Pronunciations

So far we've learned the Original Full Third Tone, the Third Tone changed into the Second Tone, and today's lesson is about Half Third Tone. The way to pronounce them is shown in the picture below:

A video on Half Third Tone - Mandarin Low Tone, one of the ways to pronounce Chinese Pinyin Third Tone and one of the major Mandarin Chinese Tone rules.
The Three Ways to Pronounce Chinese Pinyin Third Tone

No.1 - The Original Full Third Tone: starts semi-high, dips down and then goes up again.
No.2 - Third Tone becomes Second Tone: it becomes the Second Tone.
No.3 - Half Third Tone: the second half of the Full Third Tone is not pronounced. It's short and low, but you can still hear a little dipping down.

 

Why Do We Have the Half Third Tone

Just like all other Mandarin Chinese Tone rules, we have the Half Third Tone to avoid difficult pronunciation. And just like two Third Tones are difficult to pronounce, when the Third Tone goes before other Tones, it is just as challenging. So when the Third Tone goes before the First, the Second or the Fourth Tone, we don't pronounce the second half of the Third Tone. Instead, we start semi-high, and just dip down. When you hear it, the Half Third Tone is very low and short, but not as light or vague as the Neutral Tone. That is why the Half Third Tone is also called the Mandarin Low Tone.

A video on Half Third Tone - Mandarin Low Tone, one of the ways to pronounce Chinese Pinyin Third Tone and one of the major Mandarin Chinese Tone rules.
Half Third Tone: When Chinese Pinyin Third Tone goes before the First, the Second or the Fourth Tone

Mandarin Chinese Tone Rules: Half Third Tone Drills

HALF THIRD TONE + FIRST TONE

TONE PAIRS
PĪNYĪN ENGLISH
xǐ huān 喜欢 to like
shǒu jī  手机 cellphone 
jiǎn dān  简单 simple; easy
hǎo chī  好吃 (of food) delicious
xiǎo xīn  小心 careful 
SENTENCE
 xǐ huān shǒu jī jiǎn dān
喜欢手机简单。
(I) like (my) cellphone simple.

HALF THIRD TONE + SECOND TONE

TONE PAIRS
PĪNYĪN 汉字 ENGLISH
nǚ 'ér 女儿 daughter
lǚ yóu  旅游 to travel
wǎng qiú  网球 tennis 
xuǎn zé  选择 to choose 
kě néng  可能 might 
SENTENCE
nǚ 'ér kě néng xuǎn zé wǎng qiú
女儿可能选择网球。
The daughter might decide to play tennis.

HALF THIRD TONE + FOURTH TONE

TONE PAIRS
PĪNYĪN 汉字 ENGLISH
kǎo shì 考试 exam; test
pǎo bù  跑步 to run 
zhǔn bèi  准备 to prepare 
mǎ shàng  马上 right away 
nǔ lì  努力 to work hard
SENTENCE
mǎ shàng nǔ lì zhǔn bèi kǎo shì
马上努力准备考试。
(I’ll) be working hard to prepare for the exam right away.
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