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Regular and irregular neutral tone

轻音.png

We know that in the Chinese pinyin system, there are not only the four tones, but there's also a special tone we call the neutral tone, also called "toneless." Actually, the neutral tone is not a fifth tone; it's just a kind of change from the fourth tone. It is a soft and short one, which is used a lot in spoken Chinese. 

我们知道,汉语拼音系统中不仅仅包含四个声调,它还包含另外一个特殊的声调——轻声。实际上,轻声并不是汉语拼音中的第五个声调,而是第四声的一种变体,又轻又短,一般在口语中出现。

The neutral tone is divided into two groups: the regular neutral tone and the irregular neutral tone.

轻声可以分成两大类:规则轻声与不规则轻声 

The Regular Neutral Tone

规则轻声

 

For the regular one, words or phrases should be read as a neutral tone.

符合规则的字词或短语应读成轻声。

 

1. Some affixation words, for example: 子, 头, 么, 儿, 巴, 里 are read as zi, tou, me, er, ba, li. Those words are non-referential, meaning an abstract indication, so they are always read with a neutral tone. For example: 裙子 (qún zi) skirt, 枕头 (zhěn tou) pillow, 什么 (shén me) what, 花儿 (huā er) flower, 结巴 (jiē ba) stammer, 稀里糊涂 (xī li hú tú) muddleheaded.

后缀词如“子”、“头”、“么”、“儿”、“巴”、“里”应分别读成“zi”、“tou”、“me”、“er”、“ba”、“li”。这些词都没有意思,是虚词,因此常读轻声。例如:裙子(qún zi)、枕头((zhěn tou)、什么(shén me)、花儿(huā er)、结巴(jiē ba)、稀里糊涂(xī li hú tú)。

2. Some auxiliary words, for example: 得, 的, 了, 地, 着, 过 are read as de, de, le, di, zhe, guo. Examples as are follows: 好得很 (hǎo de hěn) very good, 我的 (wǒ de) my, 行了(xíng le) it worked, 小心地 (xiǎo xīn di) carefully, 看着 (kàn zhe) watching, 说过 (shuō guo) said. There's another word 们 to be read as men, which makes the word plural. It can be used following nouns and pronouns. For example, 我们 (wǒ men) we and 动物们 (dòng wù men) the animals.

助词如“得”、“的”、“了”、“地”、“着”、“过”应读成“de”、“de”、“le”、“di”、“zhe”、“过”。例如:好得很(hǎo de hěn)、我的(wǒ de)、行了(xíng le)、小心地(xiǎo xīn di)、看着(kàn zhe)、说过(shuō guo)。置于名词或代词后的“们”也应读成轻声。例如,我们(wǒ men)、动物们(dòng wù men)。

 

3. Some modal words 吧, 呢, 吗, 啊 are read as ba, ne, ma, a. For example: 好吧 (hǎo ba) alright, 你呢 (nǐ ne) how about you, 好吗 (hǎo ma) shall we, 我走了啊 (wǒ zǒu le a) I'm going now.

一些语气词如“吧”、“呢”、“吗”和“啊”应读成“ba”、“ne”、“ma”和“a”。例如,好吧(hǎo ba)、你呢(nǐ ne)、好吗(hǎo ma)、我走了啊(wǒ zǒu le a)。

4. Some words or phrases that are used after a verb or adjective show a trend. For example: 来 and 去 as in 爬上来 and 跑出去 which means (pá shàng lai) climb up and (pǎo chū qu) run out. And, some verbs show the result. For example: 打开 (dǎ kai) open, 关上 (guān shang) close, 看见 (kàn jian) see.

用于动词或形容词之后表示趋势的字,例如短语“爬上来(pá shàng lai)”和“跑出去(pǎo chū qu)”中的“来”和“去”都应该读成轻声。还有一些表示结果的动词也应读成轻声,例如“打开(dǎ kai)”、“关上(guān shang)”、“看见(kàn jian)”。

5. Some words or phrases used before a noun or pronoun to show a direction, such as 上, 下, 里, 外, 边, 面. They are read as shang, xia, li, wai, bian, mian. For example: 黑板上 (hēi bǎnshang) on the blackboard, 地下(dì xia) underground, 宿舍里 (sù shè li) in the dormitory, 窗外(chuāng wai ) out of the window, 那边 (nà bian) there, 前面 (qián mian) ahead.

在名词或代词之前表方向的字,如“上”、“下”、“里”、“外”、“边”和“面”的声调应分别为“shang”、“xia”、“li”,“wai”、“bian”和“mian”。例如:黑板上 (hēi bǎnshang)、地下(dì xia)、宿舍里 (sù shè li)、窗外(chuāng wai )、那边 (nà bian)、前面 (qián mian)。

6. Some reduplicated nouns and verbs, such as 星星 (xīng xing) star, 爸爸 (bà ba) father, 计划计划 (jì hua jì hua) make a plan, 学习学习 (xué xi xué xi) study. Please take note of the 一 and 不 between duplicated words, for example: 看一看 (kàn yi kàn) have a look, 好不好 (hǎo bu hǎo) good or not.

叠词如星星(xīng xing)、爸爸(bà ba)、计划计划(jì hua jì hua)、学习学习(xué xi xué xi)。同时,也应注意叠词之间的“一”和“不”,例如:看一看(kàn yi kàn)、好不好(hǎo bu hǎo)。

7. Some measure words such as 个. For example: 这个 (zhè ge) this, 哪个 (nǎ ge)which.

一些量词,如“个”。例如:这个(zhè ge)、哪个(nǎ ge)。

The Irregular Neutral Tone

不规则的轻声

明白 (míng bai) understand, 姑娘 (gū niang) girl, 耳朵 (ěr duo) ear, 暖和 (nuǎn huo) warm, 漂亮 (piào liang) beautiful, 功夫 (gōng fu) kung fu, 便宜 (pián yi) cheap, 裁缝 (cái feng) tailor, 喜欢 (xǐ huan) like, etc. For these, you will just have to memorize the use of the neutral tone.

明白(míng bai)、姑娘(gū niang)、耳朵(ěr duo)、暖和(nuǎn huo)、漂亮(piào liang)、功夫(gōng fu)、便宜(pián yi)、裁缝(cái feng)、喜欢(xǐ huan)。对于这些词,你只要记住轻声的用法即可。


Translated from: italki.com

2016-06-21

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