Michael Timothy
How to Learn the Tone I tried to memorized the tone on every words that I know in Chinese. When I write it down (handwritten) I write the Hanzi with the pinyin.. But still its very difficul to guessing the tone. I'm afraid to pronouncw something in a wrong tone will make me embarass
Feb 1, 2016 2:47 AM
Answers · 21
Hello Michael, I am upper intermediate (stuck there forever…), but can converse somehow fluently. In the beginning, I was terrified by the tones, because the first time, I actually tried to speak someone Chinese, he didn’t understand what I wanted, just because I got the tones wrong. Unfortunately I never had the time and possibility to really drilling my tones, but they got better naturally after some time. So here are my suggestions: 1. Speak in sentences When you speak in sentences, most Chinese can get the idea of what you are trying to say by the context, even when some tones are not correct. Also, there is also a melody to spoken sentences in natural speech. It sounds different, than if you would read a text character by character and would try to get every tone right. 2. Try shadowing and recording yourself Listen a lot to natural Chinese speech and try to shadow, the way the people speak. Record yourself and compare the way the native speaker spoke and your way.
February 1, 2016
6. Mark the tones in a text What I also do from time to time, that I either print out a text or copy it by hand and mark the tones in red above the characters. This way I see, which tones I memorized and which I have to look up again. 7. Use hand movements And what I do with my children: I show the tones by hand movements. I use much smaller movements than in this video, which my kids use at school, but I think by watching the video you can get the idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhJB9rlz4L0 But when I read characters with them, I show them the tone by hand movement and also encourage them to do that. I think by using different methods like hand movements, color-coding etc. your brain gets a lot of help to memorize the tones. Especially if you are more the visual or kinesthetic kind of learner, it can be helpful. Btw, with Skritter you can also practice the tones.
February 1, 2016
3. Try the color-coding system This is a method for memorizing the tones. It works for me, but I chose different colors: blue for first tone (“high like the sky”), green for second tone (“rising like a growing plant”), brown for third tone (“deep like the ground”) and red for the fourth tone (“strong like anger”). Here are some links regarding color-coding: http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2009/08/11/tone-and-color-in-chinese http://www.archchinese.com/color_code_chinese_characters_by_tone.html http://laowaichinese.net/color-coded-tones-on-mdbg.htm Pleco also uses color-coding and you can set the colors that you want. 4. Focus on frequently used words and similar words I think it is important to get the most frequently used characters with their tones right, for instance shī: 师, 失, 施, 诗 shí: 十,时, 实, 石, 食 shǐ: 使,始, 史 shì : 是 ,事,市, 室,世,试,视 Maybe it helps to summarize them like that. Also, there are certain words, with which I always have problems, so if I stumble upon them, I compare them to similar words in order not get the mixed up. Some examples: 打算 dǎsuan vs. 大蒜 dàsuàn 答辩 dábiàn vs. 大便 dàbiàn 5. Check out resources like Hacking Chinese out, for further tips about how to learn the tones: http://www.hackingchinese.com/
February 1, 2016
it will be nice of u to watch some Chinese TV series ~
February 1, 2016
At the very beginning, you don't have to distinguish the four tones, because it's indeed very difficult to do so. You just have to use the right words when you're speaking to a Chinese speaker. Since many people cannot tell the difference of the tones, we'll still know what you're trying to convey. Most importantly, try to listen as much as possible so that you can get across what we're saying. As your study goes, you'll get to know the ddifference. :) 加油!
February 1, 2016
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Michael Timothy
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Indonesian
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)