Mastery of Mandarin Chinese requires not only mastery of individual tones, but also mastery of tone combinations. Many learners can pronounce a Chinese syllable correctly in isolation, but when stringing syllables together into words, phrases, or sentences, it somehow all falls apart. This is because pronouncing successive tones is much more difficult than simply pronouncing individual tones one after another. Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills addresses this problem by encouraging students to focus on tone pairs.
These drills are intended for beginner to intermediate students of Mandarin Chinese. While the words for the drills were chosen with specific tones in mind, all words are appropriate for first year students of Chinese. None of them are “nonsense words” chosen merely for the sake of practice; they are all well worth learning. Although the primary grouping of words is tonal, words are also listed in order of difficulty, with difficulty level increasing from left to right.
Note to the Learner
These drills are designed to help students with some foundation in the tones of Mandarin Chinese. They are not designed to help absolute beginners “learn tones” on their own. Basic understanding of Chinese phonetics and tones is assumed.
For more information or discussion on this feature, please see the blog entry about it.
Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. That means you are free to copy and distribute it, but must give me credit for it and link back to this page. Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills may not be used for commercial purposes.
The different pages of this feature can be navigated via the links at the bottom of each page. They are:
- Intro – this page
- Usage – a unique, progressive method for practicing tone pairs
- Character Chart (simp.) – the words used for the drills, written in simplified Chinese characters and accompanied by streaming audio
- Character Chart (trad.) – the words used for the drills, written in traditional Chinese characters and accompanied by streaming audio
- Pinyin Chart – the words used for the drills, written in pinyin and accompanied by streaming audio
Remember, you can download the Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills to your computer: click now to download.
NOTE: John’s more recent efforts at pronunciation practice are available on the AllSet Learning Store. Check it out!