Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

4 Tones

 

There are 4 tones in the standard Chinese pronunciation, which are represented in pinyin by marks above the word, and are read from left to right. The tone of a word describes how the pitch of the voice changes as the word is spoken. The four tones are very important in learning Mandarin Chinese, since the same syllables with different tones may lead to different meanings. It may cause misunderstanding if you pronounce the four tones incorrectly.

The following McDonald symbol illustrates the four tones of Chinese Pinyin:

Chinese lessons - Pinyin 4 tones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tone 1 – Flat

The mark in straight line indicating the word is pronounced with a flat and unchanging high tone.

Tone 2 – Uphill

The mark going uphill indicating the word is pronounced in a rising tone.

Tone 3 – Valley

The mark going down and then up indicating the word is pronounced with a falling and then rising tone.

Tone 4 – Downhill

The mark going downhill indicating the word is pronounced with a falling tone.

p.s. When a word has no tone or mark above the word is pronounced in an abbreviated manner with no emphasis. It is normally used at the end of the question.