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2.1: Mandarin Phonology (Sound System) II

  • Page ID
    33217
  • Neutral Tone

    In addition to the four tones, there is also a neutral tone in Mandarin. There is no tone mark for neutral tone syllables. The neutral tone syllable is pronounced briefly and the pitch value is determined by the stressed preceding syllable.




    1st tone 2nd tone 3rd tone 4th tone

    Following a 1st tone, a neutral tone carries a pitch value of 2, māma;

    Following a 2nd tone, a neutral tone carries a pitch value of 3, bóbo;

    Following a 3rd tone, a neutral tone carries a pitch value of 4, lǐzi;

    Following a 4th tone, a neutral tone carries a pitch value of 1, kuàizi.

    Tone Sandhi (Tone Changes)

    3rd tone + 3rd tone 2nd tone + 3rd tone fǔdǎo – fúdǎo

    Chinese Writing System

    Basic Strokes

    A basic stroke is a single calligraphic mark moving in one direction across a writing surface. Here are some basic strokes,

    Strokes

    Pinyin

    English

    Example


    diǎn

    dot


    héng

    horizontal


    shù

    vertical


    piē

    downward left


    downward right


    upward


    héng gōu

    horizontal hook


    shù gōu

    vertical hook


    xié gōu

    slanted hook


    héng zhé

    horizontal bend


    shù zhé

    vertical bend

    Radicals

    The word “radical” in Chinese 部首 (bùshǒu) literally means "section header." Traditionally Chinese characters are grouped according to their radicals in a Chinese dictionary. These radicals are often also semantic indicators that tell the meanings of the characters. Even though in some cases the original semantic connection has become obscure over time, it is a very efficient way to learn characters if you learn a good amount of basic radicals.

    Here is:

    A View of Radicals

    (www.gotcharacters.com/wp/a-radical-view/)

    Phonetic Components

    A phonetic component gives the pronunciation of a Chinese character. Almost 80% of modern Chinese characters are pictophonetic characters, with one semantic indicator (radical) and one phonetic component. For instance, the phonetic component 青 (qīng) indicates the pronunciations of 请(qǐng)/晴(qíng)/清(qīng)/情(qíng). Usually the right side of a pictophonetic character is the phonetic component, and the left side is the semantic indicator (radical).

    Character Composition

    There are 9 kinds of common compositions of characters. By knowing the composition of characters, you will find it becomes easier to memorize characters by some components than by individual strokes. There are some less common compositions that are not included here. The common ones are as follows:



    口 人 几 大 白 我



    你 好 张 叔 阿 妈



    怎 字 安 杰 多 爸



    问 同 风 间 周



    回 国 因



    班 搬 街



    喜 曼 鼻



    这 过 起 道



    病 床 麻

    Stroke Order

    Following the stroke order rules will make it easier for you to memorize characters and identify similar characters. Your handwriting will also look better if you write characters in the correct stroke order.

    From left to right

    人:

    From top to bottom

    上:

    Horizontal before vertical

    十:

    From outside to inside

    问:

    Middle before two sides

    小:

    Inside before closing

    日:

    Survival Expressions and Numbers

    1.

    Sorry!

    Duìbùqǐ!

    Excuse me. May I ask…

    Qǐngwèn….?

    Thank you.

    Xièxiè.

    What is this?

    Zhè shì shénme?

    I don’t know.

    Wǒ bù zhīdào.

    I don’t understand.

    Wǒ bù dǒng.

    How do you say…in Chinese?

    …zhōngwén zěnme shuō?

    What does…mean?

    …shì shénme yìsi?

    I am an American.

    Wǒ shì měiguó rén.

    2.

    0

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    10

    líng

    èr

    sān

    liù

    jiǔ

    shí

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