There’s just no underestimating the importance of the tones as you are speaking the Chinese language. Of course, the trick is to either
- think of them as though you are singing OR
- associate the tones with sounds you already know in English.
So, here’s my attempt at making this as easy as possible.
- 1st TONE is pretty annoying and sounds like when you say “Aaahhhhhhhhhh” at the doctor’s or dentist’s office.
- 2nd TONE is like asking a question because your voice rises at the end–like asking, “Huh?”
- 3rd TONE is a little complex because it falls & rises, but is close to the sound of exasperation or frustration, “Oh!” or “No!”
- 4th TONE is like a sigh of relief because your voice falls slowly over time.
To listen to the four tones briefly, click here.