The Four Chinese Tones

Overview of the Four Chinese Tones

There are some basics to understand when it comes to Chinese tones, but it’s made much clearer through a picture of the four Chinese tones.

Chinese TonesChinese Tones & Your Speaking Voice

The four Chinese tones are shown in relationship to your speaking voice. So, if you have a deep voice, when you speak Mandarin Chinese, your Chinese tones will all be lower than they are for the average person. If you have a high, squeaky voice, your Chinese tones will naturally be higher when you speak the Chinese language.

In general, men and women will speak Chinese tones at different levels because Chinese tones are said in relationship to your voice.

Four Chinese Tones

We’ll go over each of the four Chinese tones in greater detail in later posts, but here’s a general introduction.

  • The first tone is said higher than your normal voice and remains level.
  • The second tone sounds like your asking a question.
  • The third tone is more like a grunt.
  • The fourth tone sounds like a sigh of relief.

Audio of Chinese Tones

Listen to an audio of the four Chinese tones by clicking the link above.

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