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Tone Lesson 7 – The Third Tone – Three Third Tones in a Row

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THE THIRD TONE: PRONUNCIATION 2 - MANDARIN THREE THIRD TONES IN A ROW

There are three ways to pronounce the Chinese Third Tone:

We already know that when there are two Third Tones in a row, the first one changes into the Second Tone. This type of Tone change is called Chinese Tone Sandhi. What if there are three Third Tones in a row? To decide its pronunciation, we need to know the meaning and structure of the phrase. But if you are a beginner, you can also practice with the video to get used to the Chinese Tone change rules

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Chinese Tone Sandhi: Mandarin Three Third Tones in A Row

Chinese Tone Sandhi refers to the situation where the Tone of a syllable gets changed or modified because of its neighboring syllables. So in Chinese Tone Sandhi are basically the commonly shared Chinese Tone change rules. However, the Tone only changes when speaking, we will still write it as the original Tone.

Mandarin Three Third Tones in a row is one of the many Chinese Tone change rules, and probably deserves the most attention. It is crucial if you want to sound native.

 

How to Pronounce "Mandarin Three Tones in A Row"

Two Chinese Tone Change Rules

There are only two ways to pronounce Mandarin Three Tones in A Row. The two pictures below display the two Chinese Tone change rules:

Mandarin three Third Tones in a row is one of the most important Chinese Tone change rules. Learn how to pronounce this Chinese Tone Sandhi in this video!
Mandarin Three Third Tones in A Row: Tone Sandhi No.1

Mandarin three Third Tones in a row is one of the most important Chinese Tone change rules. Learn how to pronounce this Chinese Tone Sandhi in this video!
Mandarin Three Third Tones in A Row: Tone Sandhi No.2

Three Types of Three Third Tones Structure

There are three different ways for three Third-Tone syllables to be put together, as shown in the chart below. We need some vocabulary and grammar skills to analyze the structure and decide the Chinese Tone change rules here. But nothing too advanced.

I II III
A B C (A B) + C A + (B C)
jiǔ jiǔ jiǔ yǎn jiǎng gǎo xiǎo lǎo hǔ
九九九 演讲稿 老虎
nine nine nine speech paper little tiger
jiú jiú jiǔ yán jiáng gǎo xiǎo láo

In Situation I, three number "nine" are equally put together, the first two syllables both change into the Second Tone.
In Situation II, (syllable A + B) is a word, and it modifies syllable C. Both (syllable A + B) change into the Second Tone.
In Situation III, syllable A is a word, and it modifies (syllable B + C). Only syllable B changes into the Second Tone. Also, syllable A in this situation is actually pronounced in the Half Third Tone, which we'll discuss in the next lesson.

Mandarin Three Third Tones in A Row – ChineseTone Sandhi Drills

SITUATION I

A + B + C
PINYIN CHINESE ENGLISH CHINESE TONE SANDHI
shuǐ huǒ tǔ 水火土 water, fire, earth shuí huó
jiǎ yǐ bǐng  甲乙丙 A,B,C; 1,2,3; I, II, III jiá yí bǐng
mǎ gǒu hǔ 马狗虎 horse, dog, tiger má góu
wěn zhǔn hěn  稳准狠 steady, accurate, firm wén zhún hěn

SITUATION II

(A B) + C
PINYIN CHINESE ENGLISH CHINESE TONE SANDHI
guǎn lǐ 管理 management team guán lí
zhǎn lǎn guǎn 展览 exhibition hall zhán lán guǎn
yǒng yuǎn hǎo 永远 always good yóng yuán hǎo
shǒu xiě 手写 handwriting form shóu xié

SITUATION III

A + (B C)
PINYIN CHINESE ENGLISH CHINESE TONE SANDHI
hěn yǒng gǎn 勇敢 very brave hěn yóng gǎn
lǎo shǔ  老鼠 Mickey Mouse láo shǔ
mǎi shǒu biǎo 手表 to buy watch mǎi shóu biǎo
hǎo yǐng xiǎng 影响 good influence hǎo yíng xiǎng
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