Tones in Chinese

By Sujanti Djuanda – LingoLearn Chinese Teacher

Chinese has four tones and one neutral tone.  Here you will learn the different tone pronunciations have different characters and meanings.

Example 1:

八(bā) eight

拔(bá) to pull up

把(bǎ) “to take”

爸爸(bàba) father

My father wanted to pull the grass up but after eight days, they are still unable to pull up.


Example 2:

诗(shī) poem

时(shí) when

始(shǐ) to begin

是(shì) to be

He is a famous poet. Since he was two years old, he has started to read classical Chinese poems.


Example 3:

箱(xiāng) box

详(xiáng) detailed

想(xiǎng) to think

像(xiàng) to look as if

Your imagination about the terminal-box detail drawing is too complicated.


Example 4:

妈(mā) mother

蟆(​ma) toad

马(mǎ) horse

蚂(mà) grasshopper

吗(ma) question particle for “yes-no” questions)

Mother, today I saw toads, grasshoppers and a pony, have you ever seen them?


Example 5:

吃(chī) to eat

迟(chí) late

欼(chǐ) drink

翅(chì) wing

When he was eating the chicken wing, his inside the tooth cracked, he wanted to see the doctor but it’s too late.

他(tā)吃(chī)鸡(jī)翅(chì)时(shí)牙齿(yá​chǐ)内(nèi)裂(liè)了(le), 要(yào​)看(kàn)医生(yī​shēng)太(tài) 迟(chí)了(le)。

Example 6:

先(xiān) : 先生(xiānsheng) Mr

咸(xián) : salty

险(xiǎn) : dangerous

现(xiàn) : now

Mr. Zhang, starting now, don’t eat too salty anymore. it’s dangerous for your health.

张(zhāng)先生(xiān​sheng​),从(cóng​)现在(xiàn​zài)开始(kāi​shǐ), 不要(bù​yào)吃(chī)太(tài)咸(xián)了(le)。对(duì)身体(shēn​tǐ​)很(hěn)危险(wēi​xiǎn)。

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