cantonese tone chart
This is a learning tool to help Cantonese speakers learn Mandarin more rapidly and to ease the process of adding vocabulary from Cantonese to Mandarin. All canonical syllables in Cantonese words have one of the six tones shown in Table 2. Cantonese has more, with nine tonnes (traditionally), composed of three checked syllables and six open syllables. This distinction was documented in many Cantonese dictionaries and pronunciation guides published prior to the 1950s but is no longer distinguished in any modern Cantonese dictionary. Like other Chinese dialects, Cantonese uses tone contours to distinguish words, with the number of possible tones depending on the type of final. Low falling (4) starts at the same pitch as low level (6), but then drops; as is common with falling tones, it is shorter than the three level tones. The affricates are grouped with the stops for compactness in the chart. Jyutping is one of the many romanisation systems used for Cantonese but it is the most popular, it is like pinyin for Cantonese. There are 6 different tones in Cantonese. For instance: Even though the aforementioned references observed the distinction, most of them also noted that the depalatalization phenomenon was already occurring at the time. It is the language of choice for education, business, government, and the media. In Hong Kong, most speakers have merged the high level and high falling tones. From a historical point of view, there are 9 tone classes in Cantonese. They are comparable to the diminutive suffixes 兒 and 子 of Mandarin. Each word or phrase must be spoken at the right pitch or it is wrong and probably will be misunderstood. Master the sounds of Mandarin Chinese using the Yoyo Chinese Interactive Pinyin Chart featuring video and audio demonstrations for each possible pinyin sound. Neutral Tone. The distinction of voiced and voiceless consonants found in Middle Chinese was preserved by the distinction of tones in Cantonese. If you can’t remember the tone of a word as you’re speaking, try saying it in more of a flat tone. (Some of these have more than one realization, but such differences are not used to distinguish words.… I would like to start learning Cantonese for I am already pretty much fluent in Mandarin. A Cantonese syllable usually consists of an initial (onset) and a final (rime/rhyme). However, phonetically these are a conflation of tone and final consonant; the number of phonemic tones is six in Hong Kong and seven in Guangzhou.. only tones 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Yale and Jyutping romanizations may have changed tones). The neutral tone is not mapped on the tone chart because it differs from the other four tones in that it does not have a defined pitch contour. Cantonese tones chart. While Guangzhou Cantonese generally distinguishes between high-falling and high level tones, the two have merged in Hong Kong Cantonese, yielding a system of six different tones in syllables ending in a semi-vowel or nasal consonant. Itdoesn't matter, just a name for tone 1. In level tones, your voice stays flat at a certain level and maintains the same pitch throughout. I imagine you'd get a similar range of responses if you asked English speakers how many vowels there … The tone variations of the syllable will … Finals (or rimes/rhymes) are the part of the sound after the initial. The consonants in the first column (p, t, ts, k and kw) are pronounced with a heavy puff of air, called aspiration. Cantonese tone. 眞係? For instance, 'x' and 'sh' sound similar to native English ears, but to native Chinese speakers, the sounds are completely different. You put the Chinese text (in traditional or simplified or jyutyping notation) in the left box then press double click play and in the right box you'll hear the text pronounced. Note: a b c d e Finals /ɛːu/, /ɛːm/, /ɛːn/, /ɛːp/ and /ɛːt/ only appear in colloquial pronunciations of characters. "really?" The vowels of Cantonese are as shown:. Tones can be rising, falling or level. The standard pronunciation of Cantonese is that of Guangzhou, also known as Canton, the capital of Guangdong Province. Therefore, the average number of homophonous characters per syllable is six. This would turn 你好 into nei5 hou2. To effectively use the conversion chart, one should be thoroughly familiar with both Yale Cantonese Romanization and Mandarin pinyin . Phonetically speaking, a Cantonese syllable has only two parts – the sound and the tone.. While Guangzhou Cantonese generally distinguishes between high-falling and high level tones, the two have merged in Hong Kong Cantonese and Macau Cantonese, yielding a system of six different tones in syllables ending in a semi-vowel or nasal consonant. The tones in this book will be marked after the syllable with the numbers 1-6, which denote the respective tones listed in the chart … Actually for tone 1,people can pronounce it high level or high fall… If you then start your voice at a mid-lower pitch and then rise it to the same higher pitch, that's . Publications that documented this distinction include: The depalatalization of sibilants caused many words that were once distinct to sound the same. The difference between high and mid level tone (1 and 3) is about twice that between mid and low level (3 and 6): 60 Hz to 30 Hz. The j, q, x vs. zh, ch, sh sounds. Nonetheless, the following rule is noted: “Tone sandhi occurs with the Ping-tones or falling tones when followed by certain tones. A vestige of this palatalization difference is sometimes reflected in the romanization scheme used to romanize Cantonese names in Hong Kong. The high level changed tone is more common for speakers with a high falling tone; for others, mid rising (or its variant realization) is the main changed tone, in which case it only operates on those syllables with a non-high level and non-mid rising tone (i.e. CantoneseClass101.com - Learn Cantonese with Free Podcasts The stop consonants (/p, t, k/) are unreleased ([p̚, t̚, k̚]). A syllable generally corresponds to a word or character. Like other languages, Cantonese is constantly undergoing sound change, processes where more and more native speakers of a language change the pronunciations of certain sounds. Tones are really the most difficult aspect of Cantonese at the outset. Simply rise, drop or maintain your voice according to the relative believe that the vowel length feature may have roots in the Old Chinese language. For instance, Hong Kong’s important and popular film industry is in Cantonese. "s" initial may be heard for "sh" initial and vice versa. For assistance with IPA transcriptions of Cantonese for Wikipedia articles, see, Chart of monophthongs used in Cantonese, from, Chart of diphthongs used in Cantonese, from, In casual speech, many native speakers do not distinguish between. in Cantonese – 6 distinctive tones and 3 for consonants ending in p, t, or k. In addition, there are contexts in which a word changes its basic tone due to morphological or semantic reasons. The neutral tone is pronounced quickly and lightly without regard to pitch. Just imaging you are singing is a good way to understand tones. Unlike musical tones, linguistic tones are not set at specific, absolute pitches like do or C flat. ∎ An earlier version of this column originally appeared on the Anthill. Similar to third tone in Mandarin, but lower. Unique to Cantonese. To use this tool, just enter Chinese text into the left box and then click convert and you'll see the jyutping on the right. Cantonese tone 8 words correspond to Mandarin tone 1 words 32% of the time in the nine-tone system but this corresponds to Mandarin tone 4 words just 12% of the time if they are treated as a variant of Cantonese tone 3 words in the six-tone system. The semivowel /i/ is rounded after rounded vowels. Some sounds have no initials and they are said to have null initial. The following mnemonics should help create visual associations between the two systems. Therefore distinctive tones are only 6 Playthe six tones continuously From tone 1 to tone 6 :s, s, si, sh, sh, sih From the highest tone to lower tone and thenthe two rising tones:s, si, sih, sh, s, sh For tone 1,some books call it High Falling and show such as "s" for it. 4 = , 6 = . The following is the inventory for Cantonese as represented in IPA: Note the aspiration contrast and the lack of voicing contrast for stops. The following mnemonics should help create visual associations between the two systems. When the three checked tones are separated, the stop codas /p, t, k/ become allophones of the nasal codas /m, n, ŋ/ respectively, because they are in the complementary distribution in which the former three appear in the checked tones and the latter three appear in the non-checked tones. The best way to learn the tone system is to memorize the sound of the tone. There are also two changed tones, which add the diminutive-like meaning "that familiar example" to a standard word. is pronounced [tsɐn˥ hɐi˨˥]. . Mandarin has a neutral tone and four main tones. The Mandarin Chinese Pinyin Table (汉语拼音表)provides the complete list of all Pinyin syllables used in standard Mandarin.An empty cell on the table indicates that the corresponding syllable does not exist in standard Mandarin. Modern linguists have discovered there are about 1,760 syllables being used in the entire Cantonese vocabulary, which cover the pronunciations of more than 10,000 Chinese characters. Online Cantonese Input Method is a free online Chinese typing tool using Cantonese romanization codes. The tones of these two languages vary. Then, with the help of Jyutping, try listening and reading at the same time. A terminal can be a semivowel, a nasal consonant, or a stop consonant. Cantonese speakers have also told me that Guangzhou Cantonese has one more tone than that of Hong Kong Cantonese.  The two modified tones are high level, like tone 1, and mid rising, like tone 2, though for some people not as high as tone 2. For Cantonese-Accented Mandarin Cantonese, ShangYinPing tone has a tone value 13, it is a copy of that for Yangshang tone in Cantonese as shown in Table 2 and table 3. entire syllable, that's the tone. For example, in English we naturally use a falling tone at the end of a statement (You If you start your voice high-pitched and keep it high like that during the More so when you're thinking of (or are already) taking on one of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers - Cantonese. It approaches the issue of whether Cantonese has … You can also enter jyutyping. Like other Chinese dialects, Cantonese uses tone contours to distinguish words, with the number of possible tones depending on the type of final. Traditional Cantonese normallysay they have 9 tones. To be understood in Cantonese, it is essential that you master the six tones. The distinction of voiced and voiceless consonants found in Middle Chinese was preserved by the distinction of tones in Cantonese.  However, in certain specific vocatives, the changed tone does indeed result in a high level tone (tone 1), including speakers without a phonemically distinct high falling tone.. The following chart lists all the finals in Cantonese as represented in IPA.. Because many Cantonese textbooks or dictionaries use tone numbers instead of symbols, it is sometimes useful to convert between the two, e.g. Younger Cantonese-speakers use k and g instead of kw and gw for many words. There are 6distinctive tones in Cantonese. Williams (1856) writes: The initials ch and ts are constantly confounded, and some persons are absolutely unable to detect the difference, more frequently calling the words under ts as ch, than contrariwise. If you've wondered about things like 'what's the best way to learn Cantonese', 'how do I learn Cantonese tones', 'should I learn Cantonese characters', you've landed in the right place. For comparison, this distinction is still made in modern Standard Mandarin, with most alveolo-palatal sibilants in Cantonese corresponding to the retroflex sibilants in Mandarin.  Although that is often considered as substandard and is denounced as being "lazy sounds" (懶音), it is becoming more common and is influencing other Cantonese-speaking regions (see Hong Kong Cantonese). The first tone can be either high level or high falling usually without affecting the meaning of the words being spoken. In modern-day Hong Kong, many younger speakers do not distinguish between certain phoneme pairs such as /n/ vs. /l/ and /ŋ/ vs. the null initial and merge one sound into another. Thank you! As tones 7, 8 and 9 are in fact the same melodious tone as 1, 3, and 6, the numerical tones have been reduced to 6 tones in this guide. On the other hand, there are new words circulating in Hong Kong which use combinations of sounds which had not appeared in Cantonese before, such as get1 (note: this is nonstandard usage as /ɛːt/ was never an accepted/valid final for sounds in Cantonese, though the final sound /ɛːt/ has appeared in vernacular Cantonese before this, /pʰɛːt˨/ – notably in describing the measure word of gooey or sticky substances such as mud, glue, chewing gum, etc. Cantonese is the de factoofficial spoken variety of Chinese along with English. For the sake of simplicity, this article chooses to use the first equation. Because many Cantonese textbooks or dictionaries use tone numbers instead of symbols, it is sometimes useful to convert between the two, e.g.  f g Final /ɐ/ is used in transcription of elided characters and final /œːt/ is used only in onomatopoeia. We empower you to type Chinese online anytime, anywhere with any computer for free! For most practical purposes, you can regard Cantonese has having 6 tones, their contours often ordered and described in the following way: 1. We follow Chen’s (2000a) analysis of tone targets, which can be cross-classified by register (high or low pitch range) and type (pitch shape). The two rising tones, (2) and (5), both start at the level of (6), but rise to the level of (1) and (3), respectively.. Cantonese had lost its medials sometime ago in its history, reducing the ability for speakers to distinguish its sibilant initials. Like other Yue dialects, Cantonese preserves an analog to the voicing distinction of Middle Chinese in the manner shown in the chart below. Hong Kong Cantonese is related to the Guangzhou dialect, and the two diverge only slightly. The difference in vowel length further caused the splitting of the dark entering tone, making Cantonese (as well as other Yue Chinese branches) one of the few Chinese varieties to have further split a tone after the voicing-related splitting of the four tones of Middle Chinese.. Starts with low tone and drops. The position of the coronals varies from dental to alveolar, with /t/ and /tʰ/ more likely to be dental. Syllables with a neutral tone have no tone mark (but are sometimes marked with a "5" or a "0" after the syllable). , The relative pitch of the tones varies with the speaker; consequently, descriptions vary from one sources to another. Chu and Taft [4, 5] argues that beginning Most speakers are in general not consciously aware of when they use and when to use high level and high falling. ), it may help you to think of it as a "tune". (8) Reduplication & Tone Sandhi in Cantonese According to Hashimoto (1972), Cantonese is poor in tone sandhi.  Historically, there was another series of alveolo-palatal sibilants as discussed below. The alveolo-palatal sibilants occur in complementary distribution with the retroflex sibilants in Mandarin, with the alveolo-palatal sibilants only occurring before /i/, or /y/. came.) Cantonese is special in the way that the vowel length can affect both the rime and the tone. Like other Chinese dialects, Cantonese uses tone contours to distinguish words, with the number of possible tones depending on the type of final. There are about 630 syllables in the Cantonese syllabary. Can you break down the tones of Cantonese very basically?  They are absent from some analyses and romanization systems. But modern Cantonese counts only six tonnes because the other three are only repetitions. However, Mandarin also retains the medials, where /i/ and /y/ can occur, as can be seen in the examples above. Tone with the highest pitch is 1; tone with the lowest pitch is 4. For example, the word for "silver" (銀, ngan4) in a modified tone (ngan2) means "coin". For purposes of meters in Chinese poetry, the first and fourth tones are the "flat/level tones" (平聲), while the rest are the "oblique tones" (仄聲). Examples for this include 你 /nei˨˧/ being pronounced as /lei˨˧/, 我 /ŋɔː˨˧/ being pronounced as /ɔː˨˧/, and 國 /kʷɔːk̚˧/ being pronounced as /kɔːk̚˧/. This is designed for Cantonese … In addition, modified tones are used in compounds, reduplications (擒擒青 kam4 kam4 cheng1 > kam4 kam2 cheng1 "in a hurry") and direct address to family members (妹妹 mui6 mui6 > mui4 mui2 "sister"). This Cantonese learning tool allows you to enter Cantonese text and hear it read aloud. And so on. Counting should have an "up - down - up - down" sort of lilt. Instead of numbering the tones from 1 to 6, this website displays user-friendly symbols to visually represent the tones of Cantonese. Tone 6: Low level. 4 = , 6 = . However the last 3 tones are actually therepetitions. that's . The position of the coronal affricates and sibilants /t͡s/, /t͡sʰ/, /s/ is alveolar and articulatory findings indicate they are palatalized before the close front vowels /iː/ and /yː/. Because Cantonese is a tonal language (six tones versus Mandarin's four/five! This is what distinguishes them from their unaspirated counterparts in the second column (b, d, dz, g, gw). Similar to the Mandarin fourth tone. This study examines tone mergers in Hong Kong Cantonese from the perspective of variationist sociolinguistics.  The affricates /t͡s/ and /t͡sʰ/ also have a tendency to be palatalized before the central round vowels /œː/ and /ɵ/. The vowels /aː, ɐ/, /ɛː, e/ and /ɔː, o/ are each long-short pairs with corresponding formants on acoustic findings, while the vowels /œː, ɵ/, /iː, ɪ/ and /uː, ʊ/ are also phonologically analysed as a long-short pair. You must rise, maintain or lower the relative pitch of your voice to "sing" each word. Initials (or onsets) refer to the 19 initial consonants which may occur at the beginning of a sound. If you use the wrong tone, you are probably saying a completely different word. This follows their regular evolution from the four tones of Middle Chinese. For instance, many names will be spelled with sh even though the "sh sound" (/ɕ/) is no longer used to pronounce the word. The tone 3, 4, 5 and 6 are dipping in the last syllable when is an interrogative sentence or an exclamatory sentence. First listen without the transcript to see what you already know. For all practical purposes, there are 7 tones in Cantonese (and only 6 of them really need to be mastered). The tone used to pronounce a word provides its meaning. In finals that end in a stop consonant, the number of tones is reduced to three; in Chinese descriptions, these "checked tones" are treated separately by diachronic convention, so that Cantonese is traditionally said to have nine tones. For those who are familiar with Jyutping, please try our new Online Jyutping Input Method Compatible with Tone Number Mnemonics. A falling tone loses its falling contour and becomes a level tone if it is followed by another The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Cantonese pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For example 雨 (rain) is yǔ in the 3rd tone. pitches and contours of the tone lines. A final is typically composed of a main vowel (nucleus) and a terminal (coda). Examples include the surname 石 (/sɛːk˨/), which is often romanized as Shek, and the names of places like Sha Tin (沙田; /saː˥ tʰiːn˩/). When you learn a word, use that as an opportunity to remind yourself of the tones of the characters in that word. and a rising tone at the end of a question (You came?). This is where your tone chart comes in.If you forget what a number means, then look it up in your tone chart.  Nasal consonants can occur as base syllables in their own right and these are known as syllabic nasals. Tone 4: Low falling. In fact, the table states 7=1, 8=3 and 9=6. Make sure to pay special attention to the tone markers and listen out for them as you go along. in traditional Yale Romanization with diacritics, sàam (high falling) means the number three 三, whereas sāam (high level) means shirt 衫. 2.4. Assimilation also occurs in certain contexts: 肚餓 is sometimes read as [tʰoŋ˩˧ ŋɔː˨] not [tʰou̯˩˧ ŋɔː˨], 雪櫃 is sometimes read as [sɛːk˧ kʷɐi̯˨] not [syːt˧ kʷɐi̯˨], but sound change of these morphemes are limited to that word. Depending on the source, you may see Cantonese described as having 6, 7, 9, or 10 tones. While Guangzhou Cantonese generally distinguishes between high-falling and high level tones, the two have merged in Hong Kong Cantonese and Macau Cantonese, yielding a system of six different tones in syllables ending in a semi-vowel or nasal consonant. traditional Yale Romanization with diacritics, romanization scheme used to romanize Cantonese names in Hong Kong, "Articulatory characteristics of the coronal stop, affricate, and fricative in Cantonese", "Frequency Analysis of the Vowels in Cantonese from 50 Male and 50 Female Speakers", "Cantonese Transcription Schemes Conversion Tables - Finals", "An acoustical analysis of the diphthongs in Cantonese", "Updates of the Jyutping Romanization System（粵拼系統的修訂）", Confusion of tones in visually-impaired children using Cantonese braille, https://www.webcitation.org/6AK0HT0Vk?url=http://hub.hku.hk/bitstream/10722/40646/1/FullText.pdf?accept=1, "Tonal Mapping in Cantonese Vocative Reduplication", "Tonal Evolution and Tonal Reconstruction in Chinese", "Understanding near mergers: the case of morphological tone change in Cantonese", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cantonese_phonology&oldid=990827134, Articles containing Chinese-language text, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from May 2010, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 November 2020, at 18:44. The chart of pitches of tones have been provided here for your reference. Cantonese as a language has evolved over the last century, and as such, certain sounds are no longer distinguished, and I have treated them as such in this chart. Wikipedia has a tone contour chart for Cantonese with only 6 tones, but the table just below has 9. Here are some English words whose intonations resemble Cantonese tones. Instead, they are relative. CantoneseClass101.com - Learn Cantonese with Free Podcasts. This variety of Cantonese ShangYinPing tone might be a result of the fact that, much many Mandarin characters with Yangping tone are low rising tone in Cantonese. One shift that affected Cantonese in the past was the loss of distinction between the alveolar and the alveolo-palatal (sometimes termed as postalveolar) sibilants, which occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While most linguists state that Syllable = Sound + Tone, a few prefer to say that Tonal Syllable = Base Syllable + Tone. Most syllables are etymologically associated with either standard Chinese characters or colloquial Cantonese characters. Tone 5: Low rising. Introduction Learning any language can be daunting. In Guangzhou, the high falling tone is disappearing as well, but is still prevalent among certain words, e.g. Some of these, such as /ɛː˨/ and /ei˨/ (欸), /poŋ˨/ (埲), /kʷeŋ˥/ (扃) are no longer common; some, such as /kʷek˥/ and /kʷʰek˥/ (隙), or /kʷaːŋ˧˥/ and /kɐŋ˧˥/ (梗), have traditionally had two equally correct pronunciations but are beginning to be pronounced with only one particular way by its speakers (and this usually happens because the unused pronunciation is almost unique to that word alone), thus making the unused sounds effectively disappear from the language; some, such as /kʷʰɔːk˧/ (擴), /pʰuːi˥/ (胚), /tsɵi˥/ (錐), /kaː˥/ (痂), have alternative nonstandard pronunciations which have become mainstream (as /kʷʰɔːŋ˧/, /puːi˥/, /jɵi˥/ and /kʰɛː˥/ respectively), again making some of the sounds disappear from the everyday use of the language; and yet others, such as /faːk˧/ (謋), /fɐŋ˩/ (揈), /tɐp˥/ (耷) have become popularly (but erroneously) believed to be made-up/borrowed words to represent sounds in modern vernacular Cantonese when they have in fact been retaining those sounds before these vernacular usages became popular. For example 下 雨 xiàyǔ (to rain – 4th tone, then the rain in the 3rd tone). Some linguists[who?] Yue dialects in other parts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, such as Taishanese, may be considered divergent to a greater degree. A main vowel can be long or short, depending on vowel length. Although English has no tones per se, our intonation naturally rises and falls with the rhythm of various words.