Travel, Teach, Live in China

Techniques to Distinguish the Four Tones in Chinese Language
By:Kayla Liu

For most foreign learners who learn Chinese in China, the four tones in Chinese language is a difficult point in pronunciation. They usually fail to distinguish them and articulate them correctly. Therefore, teachers should pay more attention to the teaching methods to help them tell the four tones apart and pronounce correctly.

In order to get an effective result, teachers can train the high and level tone with falling-rising tone together, and train the rising tone and the falling tone together. Foreign learners who study Chinese can tell them apart easier because there are some differences on the high and low tones. In the same sense, it is easy to distinguish the rising and falling tones because they are the opposite.

It is not practicable for students to master the four tones totally in a short period of time. However, they can be greatly improved in the pronunciation as long as the teachers pay more attention to the training and spend more time on some special listening and distinguish practice on the four tones when they teach in intensive Mandarin course in China.

In order to help learners master the four tones firmly when they go to school to study Mandarin, teachers should first teach the four tones respectively. At the very beginning, students can learn the tones only. Students can learn effectively if they imitate more by following the teachers.

However, it might be more difficult for students to speak the right tones in different syllables. Therefore, in the first step, teachers should train students to tell them apart by listening. After distinguishing the syllable one by one, they can gradually realize the characteristics and common points of different kinds of tones. After students who study in China can distinguish the single syllable easily, they can go further to two syllables.

When teaching the tones, teachers can say two syllables arbitrarily and students should tell them apart. From the perspective of the practical result of teaching, students who learn Mandarin will gain a string ability to tell apart the four tones. Even though they may meet some problems when they speak quickly, they have strong ability to distinguish them.

In the learning of the four tones in Chinese, teachers play an important role. Therefore, teachers should guide them to tell the four tones apart step by step so that to lay a firm foundation on the pronunciation.

Kayla Liu is the academic advisor at Keats School and has been teaching Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture for 5 years. Keats School has been providing Chinese language courses in China since 2004. You can come to study Chinese anytime during the year. With our highly efficient teaching methods, your Chinese will be greatly improved. http://www.keatsschool.com/


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