Learn Chinese Tones in 3 Minutes w/ “The Dentist Story”

Learn Chinese Tones in 3 Minutes w/ “The Dentist Story”

Chinese is a tonal language. But if you have never learned tones before… how do you learn Chinese tones? Is there anything from English you can reference to make learning Chinese tones easier? Well, today we’ve got good news. English actually DOES use tones! In fact, every native English speaker can easily say the Chinese tones already. Listen to this story about visiting the dentist and see for yourself.


The Dentist Story

So one day, I went to see my dentist. The first thing I was asked to do was to “open my mouth widely” and say “ahhh.” This is the first tone — “ahhh.” The high pitch level tone.

My dentist is kind of old, so when I say something he can’t really hear clearly. So, he always says “What? huh?” This is the second tone in Chinese. When you raise your tone like in “huh?” The second tone is a rising tone.

Then my dentist answered my question. He started off by saying “Well…” This is the third tone in Chinese. It’s a dipping tone. “Welllll.” It first goes down and then goes up.

Finally, he said, “you have really bad teeth and we’re going to have to remove at least three of them.” So I quickly said, “No! No!” This is the fourth tone in Chinese. When you reject someone harshly by saying “no,” this is the fourth tone. It’s a falling tone.

**Also, there’s a neutral tone. This is the absence of a tone with a subtle shortening of the word.**

Learn Chinese Tones PDF Download

TutorMandarin teaches tones as part of our “pinyin” course where students learn Chinese pronunciation and Chinese tones together. Below is an example of one of our pinyin lesson PDFs. You can download this PDF by signing up. All student who sign up also get one free class with a professional Chinese tutor. How great!

Free Pinyin PDF
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