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Four tips to make your tones sound like a native speaker

Pei Lei 汉Mandarin吟Inn

· Learning Chinese,Chinese lesson

Four tips to make your tones sound like a native speaker

Written by Pei Lei

When you are learning Chinese, do you have any difficulties with tones ?

Are you confused with the small differences among each tones?

Unlike many languages, Chinese is a tonal language. With the same pinyin, different tones represent different characters and meanings.

But don’t worry!

To make your tones sound like a native speaker, here are four simple ways!


Practice in pairs, combinations and sentences.

After you memorize the tones, practice by reading the pairs repeatedly. Here are some examples:

买(mǎi) to buy

卖(mài) to sell

水饺 (shuǐ jiǎo)dumpling

睡觉 (shuì jiào )sleep


wǒ xiǎnɡ wén yí xià

我 想 闻 一 下 。

I want to smell it.

wǒ xiǎnɡ wěn yí xià

我 想 吻 一 下。

I want to kiss.

wǒ xiǎnɡ wèn yí xià

我 想 问 一 下,

I want to ask,


Remember some examples to better grasp the

rules of Tone Sandhi.

Tone Sandhi: 3rd tone +3rd tone

When two 3rd tones come together, the first one turns into the 2nd tone automatically.

你好(ní hǎo)hello

水果(shuí ɡuǒ )fruit

Tone Sandhi of “不”

When “不”is followed by a 4th tone character, “不”changes into a 2nd tone.

wǒ bú huì yóu yǒnɡ

我 不 会 游 泳 。

I cann't swim.

Tone Sandhi of “一”

yì zhānɡ zhǐ yì nián

一 张 纸 : a piece of paper 一 年: one year

yì qǐ kàn diàn yǐnɡ

一起 看 电 影:watch movie together

yí ɡè rén

  一 个 人:one person

When you encounter words with similar form, you can recall how the examples are pronounced and it will be easier for you to read.


Read aloud when you practice.

Practice makes perfect.

To learn Chinese, you need to develop your mouth and ears‘ “tone memory”. When you reading and saying aloud, your mouth, tongue and ears are working together.

By reading and hearing yourself reading, you distinguish the small differences of the four tones, and adjust yourself when you practice again. A virtuous circle will be created. Time and time again, you foster your sense of language and you’ll instinctively know how to speak.


Build your own study environment。

Don't just learn from any native speaker.

Although Chinese is the mother language for Chinese people, many people have accent when speaking Madarin. Find someone who can speak standard Mandarin to practice with.

Learn from TV shows, such as 《新闻联播》、《朗读者》and《见字如面》.

Listen to the sentences, paragraphs and feel the natural rhythm of the sentences by the speakers. Try to imitate their speaking patterns even without knowing what they are saying.

About Writer

裴蕾 Pei Lei

  • Majored in MBA

  • Learning with Lei encourages students to speak loudly and proudly.

  • Her lessons are fun, creative and high efficiency with out of classroon support.

  • She loves to share Chinese culture and make friends with people around the world.

Find a professional teacher

A qualified teacher knows exactly how to correct you, guide you and give you specific suggestions according to your own situation. At Mandarin Inn, you can get tailor-made lessons with professional, experienced teachers.

You can get a course coupon by long press the QR code to follow.

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