Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mastering Tone - 4th to 2nd Combinations

Certain tone combinations seem harder than others for beginners to get a handle on, some of which are more surprising than others. I would have thought that 4th to 2nd would be pretty much an open and shut case, but it's proved to be a challenging combination for my student to (consistently) master.

The problem doesn't seem to be with the 4th tone syllable, which is swift, emphatic, and drops enough in pitch, but rather with his inability to start his ascent from the precise point where his 4th tone ends.

If this sounds like your problem too, try visualizing this scenerio:

Imagine that you are diving into a pool. A perfect dive (like the picture on the right) where your voice falls in pitch as quickly and effortlessly as your body would cut through the water.

You must touch the bottom of the pool. Only after you have touch the bottom do you turn, crouch, and then push yourself up.

Now,let your second tone rise, as effortlessly as your body would seamlessly be propelled to the surface of the water.

Some 4th - 2nd tone combinations to practice are:

wen4ti2 (問題problem)
lu4cha2 (綠茶green tea)
fa4guo2 (法國France)
Yin4ni2 (印尼Indonesia)
Tai4guo2 (泰國Thailand)
Yue4nan2 (越南Vietnam)
da4ren4 (大人adult)
er4shi2 (二十twenty)