The fourth tone

Moderator: OldBoring

User avatar
schnaz
Posts: 175
Joined: 2008-01-04, 3:28
Real Name: john viarengo
Gender: male
Location: Wilmington, actually Elsmere, Delaware, U.S.A.
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

The fourth tone

Postby schnaz » 2016-01-21, 14:57

I think I had an insight as i was listening to an entry on the mdbg dictionary . It was a fourth tone word and it seemed to me that the speaker contracted her ???. I use the question marks because I don't know the proper name for the articulater in question. Actually I hope I'm using articulater properly. Main thing is: would someone be willing to describe the production of the fourth tone?
Thanks Schnahz
"What a revoltin´ development this is." Daffy Duck

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 19102
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: The fourth tone

Postby linguoboy » 2016-01-21, 17:37

schnaz wrote:I think I had an insight as i was listening to an entry on the mdbg dictionary . It was a fourth tone word and it seemed to me that the speaker contracted her ???. I use the question marks because I don't know the proper name for the articulater in question. Actually I hope I'm using articulater properly. Main thing is: would someone be willing to describe the production of the fourth tone?

Fourth tone is the most straightforward of all for the English learner, since it has the same terminal pitch fall that we normally give words when citing them in isolation. I'm not aware of any secondary articulations in Chinese.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
schnaz
Posts: 175
Joined: 2008-01-04, 3:28
Real Name: john viarengo
Gender: male
Location: Wilmington, actually Elsmere, Delaware, U.S.A.
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: The fourth tone

Postby schnaz » 2016-01-23, 17:02

Thanks for your response linguoboy. My current vision of the vocal apparatus of a native Chinese speaker pictures a larynx which is in a constant state of flux. The only time it is not being manipulated is in the case of a neutral tone. We use the neutral tone most of the time and when we do use a "forced" tone as in the situation you mention we do it unconsciously. I do a lot of oral recitation of words and phrases to practice manipulating my larynx while simultaneously adjusting my other articulaters to accommodate Chinese pronunciation. I am still not comfortable with a complete sentence cause I can't focus focus that long :yep:
"What a revoltin´ development this is." Daffy Duck

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 19102
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: The fourth tone

Postby linguoboy » 2016-01-23, 17:14

schnaz wrote:Thanks for your response linguoboy. My current vision of the vocal apparatus of a native Chinese speaker pictures a larynx which is in a constant state of flux. The only time it is not being manipulated is in the case of a neutral tone. We use the neutral tone most of the time and when we do use a "forced" tone as in the situation you mention we do it unconsciously. I do a lot of oral recitation of words and phrases to practice manipulating my larynx while simultaneously adjusting my other articulaters to accommodate Chinese pronunciation. I am still not comfortable with a complete sentence cause I can't focus focus that long :yep:

"Neutral tone" is kind of a misnomer. These syllables aren't toneless, they just have their tone determined by the syllable before them. So in 帽子, the 子 has an extremely low level tone whereas in 餃子 it's quite high. Maybe you're using "manipulated" to mean "given a contour"? But first tone is contourless as well (almost identical to the 子 in 餃子, in fact).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
schnaz
Posts: 175
Joined: 2008-01-04, 3:28
Real Name: john viarengo
Gender: male
Location: Wilmington, actually Elsmere, Delaware, U.S.A.
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: The fourth tone

Postby schnaz » 2016-01-26, 0:23

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_(linguistics)

I got a little more familiar with tone by reading the above. Linguoboy's use of the term "contour" has helped me know more than when I began this post.

If so called neutral tones are not really neutral but are influenced by the proceeding syllable then how do you determine how you are going to pronounce a so called neutral tone?
"What a revoltin´ development this is." Daffy Duck

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 19102
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: The fourth tone

Postby linguoboy » 2016-01-26, 1:53

schnaz wrote:If so called neutral tones are not really neutral but are influenced by the proceeding syllable then how do you determine how you are going to pronounce a so called neutral tone?

I think the easiest way to approach the neutral tone is by thinking off it as what happens when a tone "bleeds" over two syllables. If you've read up a bit about contour tones, then you know that they can be transcribed numerically. So that fourth tone, for instance, is 51 (starting at the highest level and dropping to the lowest). After fourth tone, the neutral tone is 2, the next level up from 1. Third tone is rendered 214, representing a fall and a rise. When a neutral tone follows, the 4 "bleeds over", leaving the first syllable with a tone contour of 21. (This is actually the usual realisation of third tone except when final or in isolation.) First (high level) and second (mid-rising) both end on 5, the highest level. After them, the tone level "resets" to (respectively) 2 and 3 (or dead centre on the scale).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
schnaz
Posts: 175
Joined: 2008-01-04, 3:28
Real Name: john viarengo
Gender: male
Location: Wilmington, actually Elsmere, Delaware, U.S.A.
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: The fourth tone

Postby schnaz » 2016-01-31, 15:31

Thanks for your explanation linguoboy. I feel I have benefitted from your explanations. And as I understand it, in China they say something like " when you don't understand, read the book a hundred times".
"What a revoltin´ development this is." Daffy Duck

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 5248
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Peking
Country: CN China (中国)
Contact:

Re: The fourth tone

Postby OldBoring » 2016-02-01, 9:58

All the realizations of the neutral tone aren't phonetically distinct to Chinese speakers, and only in recent year, by immersion in an environment where people speak a relatively standard accent of Mandarin, and by reading stuff dealing with basic linguistics, I've noticed how the neutral tone is actually pronounced differently in "height" according to the preceding tone.
So the only way to distinguish first tone (55) and the neutra tone when it's high (5) is length?
I also do feel that syllables in neutral tone are pronounced "quicker" and maybe quieter, and "less articulated". I like to compare it to unstressed syllables in European languages.


Return to “Chinese (中文)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest