Chinese Tones

Mastering the Neutral Tone in Mandarin Chinese: Tips and Tricks

In Pronunciation by Angel Huang

In this guide we're going to help you unlock the key to mastering the Chinese neutral tone.

We'll dive deep into the characteristics of the neutral tone and learn how it's pronounced following each of the four main tones in Chinese.  Practice along with me, and you'll feel comfortable using the neutral tone in no time! 

Neutral Tone Basics

The neutral tone is also known as the "5th tone" or "qīng shēng" (轻声 light tone) in Chinese. Unlike the four main tones…  

Chinese Tones

... the the neutral tone doesn't have a specific pitch contour. 

But it is always short & light.

Apart from that, there's more thing you should know:

The exact pitch height of a neutral tone depends on the tone that comes before it.

Like this:  

Neutral Tone in Chinese

I cover this thoroughly in my Chinese pronunciation course

Chinese pronunciation course

So let’s take a look inside for some good examples:

After a first tone:

Chinese Tones

After a second tone:

Chinese Tones

After a third tone:

Chinese Tones

After a fourth tone:

Chinese Tones

Alright, well done! Here are the key takeaways from today’s lesson:

Mandarin Chinese Tones

Remember, good tones are essential for sounding natural in Mandarin. And if you want to build a solid foundation, check out my Chinese Pronunciation Gym. Show a short clip from the course promo video with text: “Link in Description”.

Ok, that’s all for today.  好了,我是Angel. 我们下次见!

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