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Learn Mandarin Chinese Language and Tones

Updated on March 15, 2013


Chinese language is considered as a “tonal language”. Meaning each word utterance, syllabication and stress of tones has its own meaning. It is an undeniable fact that most of us are confused about the way mandarin Chinese is being spoken. But if mandarin language will be practice and yet will be repeated every day, you can automatically learn this language without noticing it.

Remember also that all languages have different needed to be considered in order to utter each word the best it could be. Indeed, bear in your mind that the tones and language diction of each Mandarin Chinese word is very challenging and hard to learn.

Learning how to speak mandarin Chinese is not only the way to call you as a veteran speaker of this language. Another recipe for you to speak mandarin Chinese in its perfect way is its tone. Remember that mandarin Chinese language has four major tones and a single neutral tone being used to utter each word properly. In its broad sense, a single word in mandarin Chinese language has a lot of meaning depending on the tone usage. Best example for this is the mandarin word “ma”; it can be referring to a mother, a horse, a shouting scold, or a question depending on the tone being used to it. Let’s take a look on the differences of these four major tones:

  1. The first major tone is the “high-neutral pitch”. This tone is the combination of high and a neutral volume of voice. In using this first tone you have to exert your voice in a higher pitch but still on a neutral delivery. Take the word “yeah” as an example, if you will use “yeah” in a low pitch it means you are not agree with certain agreement, but if you put it in a higher pitch it means you are 100% agree.
  2. The second major tone is the rising pitch. In this tone, it doesn’t require any neutral level of delivery anymore. You will need to put up your voice in a rising pitch manner. In this way, you have to put your voice up to the next level. If you will use “yeah” in a rising pitch manner, it means that you are agree but still you have the doubt about the statement and you are merely asking , “is it true?” in your mind.
  3. The third tone is the falling-rising pitch. In this type of tone you have to low down your voice at first the suddenly you will rise it. If you will use “yeah” in this type of tone, it means you are agreeing with the statement but you want more information on what this statement points out.
  4. The last type of tone use in Mandarin Chinese tone is the complete falling pitch. In this tone, your voice is in a low level and no rising intonation or neutral will be use. In using this make sure that you will not create any intonation aside from low voice. If you will use “yeah” on this kind of tone, you are completely agree with a certain statement.

What to consider in learning proper toning of Mandarin Chinese language

It is a must to learn the basic foundation of such thing first that you want learn in order for you to become successful on that field. Additionally, you must complement your learning with a lot of practice and repetitions so that you will be able to acquire the achievement you want to have. In order to learn the tones in Mandarin Chinese, it is recommended to learn its first 60 sounds before going up to the nest level. These 60 major sounds of Mandarin Chinese language are considered as basic phonetics. Before you could utter these 60 basic phonetics properly, it is a must to spend a couple of weeks or even months for you get all of these sounds perfectly mastered and without any issues.

If you are a non-speaking mandarin Chinese, you will be thinking that this language is too over reacting and cheap because of the tones it require. Imagine if tones in such language are absent, don’t you think it will be beneficial for everyone? I think it will be more boring as what you have experienced in your life.

Factors to consider in learning Mandarin Chinese tones and language

It will be easier and convenient for such beginner like you to practice mandarin Chinese language and tones effectively by coping up with such factors. Below are the 7 factors to consider in order for you to learn Mandarin Chinese fervently:

  1. Be oriented with the four major mandarin Chinese tones
  2. Consider using “Pinyin Romanization” during your learning process. Pinyin is one way to write Chinese in Roman alphabet, this will be a good start for you in learning Chinese alphabets as it will help you to be familiar with each alphabet and this will be easier for you to learn speaking this Mandarin Chinese with proper tones.
  3. Consider learning Chinese vocabulary. It is not enough to learn Chinese language and tones by just uttering it. You also have to look for its meanings and understand what is it all about in order for you to get familiarize with these words easily.
  4. Learn how to pronounce each word and alphabet
  5. Expand you mind by reading related books, journals, watching tutorial videos and other sheets to help you practice learning this Mandarin Chinese.
  6. Learn how to construct proper mandarin Chinese grammar. This will be beneficial for you as it will help you to communicate well with other mandarin Chinese speaking people.
  7. Read, write and speak Mandarin Chinese every day. It will be an advantage for you to learn Mandarin Chinese easily by using it every day. Just like what a motto says, “Practice makes perfect”.


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    • SolveMyMaze profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice hub. I honestly think I would have difficulty with the high pitched tone since I've got a really deep voice. I would agree that practise does indeed make you perfect, and in all honesty, I would need to be doing a lot of work every day before I made any real progress!


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