Tone Changes of 一 and 不

Expression of the day:

Qǐng děng yíxià.
Wait a moment, please.

Lesson 7 was about tone changes of ‘yī’ (一) and ‘bù’ (不).

Changes in tones

From NHK textbook

The original tone of ‘yī’ (一) is tone no. 1. But when ‘yī’ is followed by tone no. 1, 2, and 3, it changes to tone no. 4.

And when ‘yī’ is followed by tone no. 4, it changes to tone no. 2.

Changes in tones 2

From NHK textbook

And then about ‘bù’ (不)…

The original tone of ‘bù’ (不) is tone no. 4, but when it is followed by tone no. 4, it changes to tone no. 2 (bú). Example: 不对 búduì (to be wrong).

The Chinese teacher says these tone changes are used often so please remember… OK, teacher, I’ll try. I can hardly tell the difference between tones but OK.

I find that both MDBG Chinese Dictionary and LINE Chinese Dictionary don’t show about these tone changes, but Naver Chinese – Korean Dictionary does.

Oh-oh, is this something people don’t usually know? It reminds me of an old trauma when I told random people on the internet about pronunciation changes in Korean hangul and they didn’t believe me (maybe because they didn’t read their textbooks well and their teacher didn’t tell them about it).

I think I’m going to stick to Anki for a while. I really like Anki because I can use any language I want for word meaning and I can choose the audio of any language myself.


I can use audio of any language for my Anki card.

Anki Card

Chinese, Pinyin, and Indonesian.

For sentences, it’s easier for me to translate Chinese directly to Indonesian or English. But for words, Chinese is closer to Korean or Japanese. I like that with Anki I don’t have to stick to just one language for translation. Hopefully, I will be able to differentiate Chinese tones soon with the help of Anki. ###


7 thoughts on “Tone Changes of 一 and 不

  1. I think most people know about the tone changes. It’s just that they are usually not indicated when writing 拼音.


  2. 不用谢!
    Right, most dictionaries don’t indicate tone changes. But I think most of them are intuitiv. Try saying 你好 with two third tones. I find it’s easier with the change.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s