3rd tone 3rd tone .... change what to what?

I remeber reading a long time ago that if you have two words with 3rd tone (down then up) together you have to change one. My girlfriend recomfirmed this the other day saying that Taiwanese children’s Chinese is so bad that few of them know this. But even she wasn’t sure what to change. I asked ALL of my co-workers and they all said you don’t change anything. I then began to believe my girlfriend was wrong…but I still remembered reading it myself a long time ago.
So…I phoned my ex-Chinese teacher…she said when you have 3rd tone and 3rd tone together you change the first words tone to 2nd tone (rising).
I’m at work now and none of my co-workers believe me. Can anyone else back this up? Quotes or links would be helpful as I have to change all my co-workers speaking habits :smiling_imp: .

The example I’ve been using is “small dog” since both these words in Chinese are 3rd tone.

yes of course this is true and is well known in chinese teaching circles…locals won’t know it because they do it unconsciously. but they do do it because if you dont do it your mouth will have a hernia trying to cope with the rise and falls of consecutive third tones.

bear in mind intonation in taiwan is extemely flat so you can’t hear the tones clearly. if you listen to some of the old KMT soldiers it becomes much clearer.

and if you really want to confuse people try asking about taiwanese tones and the rules for tone changes (every word in taiwanese has an original tone and a tone for when it is used as part of a sentence, so 5th becomes 7th, 1st becomes 3rd etc etc)

M:
I can back you up with my TLI textbook… 100%. :wink:
Chinese for Everyday life, pg 7, #3 says

I scanned the page, but Photobucket is not up right now, so I couldn’t upload and link it to my post, sorry.

I remember something about that too, but then, I don’t do tones. :blush:
. . then there’s this quirky thing where Sichuan people change their third tones to something or other . . . oops, forgot that too.

HG

If you really want to see your Taiwanese co-workers squirm, ask them about the tone-changing rules for Minnan… :smiley:

But what about Taiwanese Chinese teachers…shouldn’t they know it? Mine did, but I’m guessing most don’t. Also my co-workers when arguing the point with me said that the children get tested on tones…and if Hello Ni-hao they would have to choose 3rd 3rd or it woudn’t be correct.

Are you assuming that Chinese teachers in Taiwan have been trained in how to teach foreigners Chinese? Maybe a two-week course, in many cases. Most of them – especially in the smaller buxibans – are grads of the Chinese language department of various unis, but don’t have any formal background in teaching anything, let alone Chinese.

There are exceptions of course, but IMHO if you don’t know about the 2nd to 3rd rule you can’t seriously call yourself a Chinese teacher. It would be like not knowing how to form plurals in English. That is to say, the native speaker “just does it” and doesn’t know what’s going on or how to explain it, but someone with some training has focused on that problem and knows enough to point it out.

[quote=“ironlady”]Are you assuming that Chinese teachers in Taiwan have been trained in how to teach foreigners Chinese? Maybe a two-week course, in many cases. Most of them – especially in the smaller buxibans – are grads of the Chinese language department of various unis, but don’t have any formal background in teaching anything, let alone Chinese.

There are exceptions of course, but IMHO if you don’t know about the 2nd to 3rd rule you can’t seriously call yourself a Chinese teacher. It would be like not knowing how to form plurals in English. That is to say, the native speaker “just does it” and doesn’t know what’s going on or how to explain it, but someone with some training has focused on that problem and knows enough to point it out.[/quote]

I wasn’t speaking about foreigners in any sense. I’m asking about Taiwanese Chinese teachers who teach Taiwanese children. Do they know? Because at my bushi-ban we have plenty of…erm an-geen ban…err…study classes where they cover ALL topics…none of those “teachers” knew anything about this rule…they all said that the 3rd tone never changes except for cases like “mother” where you have the same word repeated.

A competent teacher of Chinese should know and teach this rule.

Most Chinese (at least in Taiwan) are not taught this rule as children, so they may not be aware of it. My wife didn’t know about it until I told her about it.

A third tone before another tone is pronounced as a second tone, but in both Hanyu pinyin and zhuyin fuhao (bopomofo) it is still marked as a third tone, and when typing Chinese on the computer you append 3 or the third tone mark when you are using Hanyu pinyin and zhuyin input respectively.

A third syllable that is pronounced as a second tone because it is followed by another third tone still turns a preceding third tone into a second tone. To put it more simply, if you have a row of third tones, all but the last are turned into second tones. e.g. 我很好 wo3+hen3+hao3 is actually pronounced wo2 hen2 hao3.

You probably know also that a third tone before any other tone is pronounced as a low falling tone (which I find indistinguishable from low level).

These tone change rules do not apply if there is a pause between the syllables, as for example represented by a comma or full stop (period) in punctuation, as in this sentence:

[size=150]很好,我明天去.
Hen hao, wo mingtian qu.
Hěn hǎo, wǒ m

Well, that’s pretty interesting. Thinking back to my Taiwan days, I remember “ni hao” and the “hao” sounding like it was rising.

The “hao” is third tone and full third tones do go up a little bit after they dip, but it is the "ni that is turned into a second tone. A second tone rises higher than a third tone.

The “hao” is third tone and full third tones do go up a little bit after they dip, but it is the “ni” that is turned into a second tone. A second tone rises higher than a third tone.[/quote]

Ok, yeah that. I get confused. Makes even more sense now. It’s like when (I hope I’m not wrong) in “bu hao” when “bu” changes to a rising tone from the falling tone. Or something like that. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m no expert. I learned on the street and learned my Chinese by ear and the phrase book.

“bu” is generally 4th tone, but it becomes a 2nd tone before another 4th tone.

bu4 chi1 (not eat)
bu4 mang2 (not busy)
bu4 hao3 (not good)
bu2 shi4 (is not)

“bu” is generally 4th tone, but it becomes a 2nd tone before another 4th tone.

bu4 chi1 (not eat)
bu4 mang2 (not busy)
bu4 hao3 (not good)
bu2 shi4 (is not)[/quote]

Thanks. Now I remember.

We’re getting two Chinese Teachers here (Korea) at my hagwon at the end of the month. Should be interesting.

What about a sentence full of 3rd tones? Not being pedantic here, but this bothered me for a long time.

And of course I can’t think of one at the moment, but I remember trying to read out loud sentences with 6 or 7 third tones in a row.

All I was ever told to do was “read it naturally, as everyone does it different” :unamused:

A lot of times, you divide the sentence into individual phrases and terms (many of which have two syllables) and apply the rule to each phrase. Pauses also break the sentence up.

“Wo3 ye3 hen3 hao3, ne3 ne?” (“I’m fine too. How about you?”) becomes “Wo2 ye3 hen2 hao3, ni3 ne”?

and here from wikipedia is the definitive explanation:

"Most tonal languages have tone sandhi, in which the tones of words alter in complicated ways. For example: Mandarin has four tones: a high monotone, a rising tone, a falling-rising tone, and a falling tone. In the common greeting n