Our lesson today focuses on tone sandhi, and particularly the change we make in the pronunciation of two third tone characters when we put them together. You're probably already aware that in these situations our first third tone character morphs into the second tone. But have you had much chance to practice? And has anyone ever given you feedback on how you sound?

This is the first speaking lesson we've ever done that comes with a dedicated podcast. We suggest listening to it first, and then working through our generative fix for extra practice. When you're ready click through to our text page, where you will find our toll-free telephone number listed in the side column along with your PIN number for this lesson. Call us, make a recording, and you can expect to hear back from us in a day or two. Good luck!
 said on
September 10, 2010
how about the third tones in this statement?

ni3 xuan3 na3 ben3 shu1?

你选哪本书?

how would the rule apply in that case?
 said on
September 10, 2010
@walid.shaari,

The tones are,ní xuán ná běn shū,

or can also be:

ní xuǎn ná běn shū

If you have an even number of third tones, in colloquial speech you can alternate one 2nd then 3rd tone.

IN THEORY ALL 3RD TONES EXCEPT FOR THE LAST ONE SHOULD BE CONVERTED TO 2ND TONE, but in rapid speech people are just apt to do whatever is easiest and most convenient.

Hope that helps!
 said on
September 10, 2010
谢谢 Xiao HU " is that little tiger? = club"

我只有五十元的

wo3 zhi3 you3 wu3 shi2 yuan2 de

wo2 zhi3 you2 wu3
 said on
September 11, 2010
@walid.shaari,

For tone sandhi, you should change this sentence "wo3 zhi3 you3 wu3 shi2 yuan2 de" into "Wo3 or Wo2 zhi2you3 wu3shi2 yuan2 de".

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
July 23, 2011
@Echo - are you saying that tone sandhi does not apply across verb-complement boundary (you3 wu3) and may or may not apply across subject-verb phrase boundary (wo3 or wo2)?
 said on
July 23, 2011
@pefferie,

No, it's not that. Nothing to do with verbs. The reason is when there are more than 2 third tones are together, the way to tell which one should be changed is depending on the word/phrase structure or meaning. For instance, in the part of sentence "zhi3 you3 wu3", "zhi3you3" is one word, so we just change zhi3 to zhi2.

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
July 23, 2011
@Echo,

What a bother, this is in opposition to what I'd learned from my professor. He was very strict with his students, he'd always say, "all third tones in succession must change except the last one." According to his teaching, the tonal change has nothing to do with whether or not the surrounding characters are part of the same word, nor does it have anything to do with the word/phrase structure or instrinsic meanings of the words. He maintained that, tone sandhi only has to do with the convenience of making the tones in a phrase easier and more convenient to say.

So we repeatedly practiced, and strictly adhered to the, "all successive third tones except the last must change to second tone" golden rule of tone sandhi.

So, according to his system of tone sandhi, the following phrase:

wo3 you3 wu3 ben3 hen3 hao3 de shu1

Should read like this:

wo2 you2 wu2 ben2 hen2 hao3 de shu1.(我有五本很好的书)

Another example:

wo3 wu2 fa3 ba3 si3 ban3 de ren2 dang4 peng2 you.

(我无法把死板的人当朋友)

Should be read as:

wo3 wu2 fa2 ba2 si2 ban3 de ren2 dang4 peng2 you.

Only after readdressing this question by listening to Chinese people speak did I come to the conclusion that, in natural colloquial speech, Chinese people have the habit of changing every OTHER third tone to second tone.

So the above example could also have the alternate reading of,

wo3 wu2 fa2 ba3 si2 ban3 de ren2 dang4 peng2 you.

Recently, my so called, "pronunciation expert" had this to say about my changes of third tone, “有变调的问题,比如,三声的变调在语流中一些变化没有处理好。”

我已经学了这么多年的中文了,而变调这个问题还是没有处理好,哎!好郁闷的我。。。
 said on
July 24, 2011
@Echo,@Xiao Hu, thank you for your comments. My conclusion is that this topic is ripe for another Speaking Practice lesson.

 said on
July 24, 2011
@Pefferie,

Perhaps you're right, a follow up lesson might be in order being that tone sandhi is fundamental stuff. I think, however, perhaps the overriding factor here is there is a difference between the theoretical tone sandhi and the tone sandhi in real life?

Or perhaps it's my fundamental inability to grasp basic concepts...

:(
 said on
December 22, 2011
土匪打开了保险箱.

保险箱的发音是不是bao3xian3xiang1?在录音里Echo老师说bao3xian3gui3,但是我的字典和泡泡中文的tooltips说是xiang1.可能是保险匦吧?
 said on
December 22, 2011
@craigrut,

Hi Craigrut. You are right, ”保险箱“的发音是bǎoxiǎnxiāng.

保险柜 bǎoxiǎnguì is another way to say 保险箱。

In China, some people would like to use 保险箱, while some others prefer保险柜.

Also, when we discribe very big 保险箱, we prefer to use 保险柜。

Here you may find the difference:

保 险 箱

keep safty box

保 险 柜

keep safty cabinet

Hope this helpful.O(∩_∩)O~
 said on
December 22, 2011
谢谢你Gail老师。我欠你一个苹果:)。
 said on
December 23, 2011
@Craigrut,

我看你的留言就不得不问,你欠Gail老师是哪种苹果?难道是吃的那种苹果还是乔布斯设计的那种呢?

@Gail天堂的声音,好久没见!很高兴又见到你!
 said on
December 23, 2011
@Xiao Hu

哈哈。。。不得不问的意思是"wasn't clear enough"吧。好像是这样。

我的意思是吃的苹果,从棵树掉的苹果哈哈。乔布斯设计是不是苹果公司的产品吗?我没有听说过。
 said on
December 23, 2011
@craigrut,

哈哈,不得不问的意思是 "have to ask"。

Too bad 不是乔布斯的苹果。

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
December 24, 2011
@craigrut,

啊? 你连乔布斯这么有名的人的名字都没听说过了呀? 呵呵,看来你每分每秒都要投入到泡泡中文。你真是个很听话的学生哦!

你说的苹果原来就是掉在艾萨克牛顿头上的那个苹果啊!

那这样的话我想问你一个问题。你有没有听改变世界的三个苹果的故事吗?

我完全同意Echo老师的心情,真可惜不是乔布斯的苹果而是普普通通的苹果。

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