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 native Mandarin Chinese speaker from Beijing, guides you through your trip in China. Dani will help you learn Chinese words and phrases that you need to know as you encounter real life situations while in China. You will also learn interesting and useful lessons about Chinese culture and values along the way. Our lessons are designed to help you learn Chinese online without the need to download or install any software. You can start to learn Chinese free by availing of our 10 free lessons.