Like many Oriental languages, Chinese is a tonal language. As you learn Mandarin Chinese, you will see that any word can have multiple meanings depending on the tone used when pronouncing it. There are four tones to get to grips with as you learn Chinese, and these are represented by the four tone marks written above the vowels in Pinyin.
Before you go any further regarding learning Mandarin Chinese, Dani gives a dedicated lesson to fully understanding and practising the tones. It is possible to relate the concept of tones to how you use the tone of your voice in speaking English. For example the tone of your voice will often change when asking a question or giving an order in English!
Although commonly referred to as having four tones, the neutral tone is often considered as a fifth tone. So remember to pronounce this in a short light manner to get it right. The neutral tone is undoubtedly the easiest to master for English speakers though. As you start to learn Chinese, it is important to be conscious of the importance of the tones from the beginning.
About our Lessons
Dani, a Mandarin Chinese speaker and native of Beijing, guides you along your travels in China. Dani will help you learn Chinese words and phrases essential to navigate through real life scenarios in everyday Chinese life. You will also benefit from fascinating and practical lessons about the culture of China and its values. The lessons will allow you to learn Chinese online without the need for downloads or software installations. You can begin to learn Chinese free by taking advantage of our ten free Chinese lessons.