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Lesson Transcript

David: Welcome back to CantoneseClass101. I’m David.
Nicole: 大家好 (daai6 gaa1 hou2). I’m Nicole.
David: In our last lesson we talked about sounds in Jyutping.
Nicole: I hope you like it.
David: In this lesson, we’re going to talk about Cantonese tones.
Nicole: Yeah the beautiful tones!
David: sounds like music to you, but really scary to a lot of us who are learning Cantonese for the first time. You guys can’t even agree, are there 6 of them, or 9 of them.
Nicole: Well, there are only 6!
David: In this lesson, we’re going to learn about the 6 tones. Let’s start at the beginner, with the 1st tone.
Nicole: si1.
David: That’s the 1st tone, high and flat.
Nicole: si1.
David: High and steady.
Nicole: That’s right, it’s very easy!
David: And that’s the highest tone too.
Nicole: Yes really high, si1 . I’m singing here. fan1 or ba1. Those are all 1st tones.
David: And they’re all high, and they’re all flat. OK, the 2nd tone is a rising tone.
Nicole: si2.
David: This is called Mid Rising tone.
Nicole: si2. it’s a little bit lower than the 1st one. It sounds like the intonation we use in English when we ask a question.
David: Like when we say ‘huh?’ or "see?"
Nicole: Exactly. si2. fan2, ba2.
David: Sounds completely like the English question "see?"
Ok, now let's try to put the 1st tone and the 2nd tone together.
Nicole: si1 si2, fan1 fan2, ba1 ba2.
David: Right. So the first 2 tones are down.
Nicole: Yay!
David: What's the 3rd one?
Nicole: si3.
David: The third one is also flat and steady like the first. But it is lower.
Nicole: si3.
David: Flat tone , in the middle of your voice range.
Nicole: si3. fan3. ba3.
David: Let's hear 1 and 3 together for comparison?
Nicole: si1, si3. fan1, fan3.
David: Ok. How about all 3 together?
Nicole: si1 si2 si3
David: Sounds like music. Okay, 3 down!
Nicole: Now we only have 20 to go!
David: 20?!
Nicole: Kidding. We are half way through.
David: So got three more to go. What’s the 4th tone?
Nicole: si4.
David: This is a flat tone, but very very low.
Nicole: si4.
David: This is the 4th tone. It makes you sound unnaturally low.
Nicole: si4.
David: Just remember, low and flat. The lowest.
Nicole: si4, m4…
David: Just like in the word m4 goi1.
Nicole: That's 4th tone, and then 1st tone. Really low, then really high. m4 goi1.
David: And that’s the word for “excuse me”, and “thank you”, and “please”.
Alright, let’s put all 3 flat tones together.
Nicole: si1 si3 si4.
David: Right.
Nicole: si1 si3 si4.
David: Our next time tone, tone 5, is low rising.
Nicole: si5.
David: It starts low and it rises.
Nicole: si5.
David: So it's like the 2nd tone only a lot lower.
Nicole: Exactly. si5, fan5, ba5.
David: Let's hear 2nd and 5th tone together.
Nicole: si2, si5. fan2 fan5. ba2, ba5 .
David: okay, we’ve done 5 tones. Of course, there’s one more tone coming up.
Nicole: yep, that one is actually a bit tricky.
David: It's another flat tone.
Nicole: And in the middle. si6.
David: It’s sort of low, but not in the bottom there.
Nicole: si6, fan6, ba6
Davidt: So to conclude, we got 6 tones, 4 flat tones and 2 rising tones.
Nicole: Right. Let's listen to the four FLAT tones. si1, si3, si4, si6.
Nicole: Ok, and now the 2 rising tones.
Nicole: si2, si5.
David: So that's it. The 6 tones. Nicole, before we go can you give us a quick review?
Nicole: No problem, I will say the six tones in a row, so you can hear the difference. si1 si2 si3 si4 si5 si6 .
David: Let’s hear that one more time, quicker..
Nicole: si1 si2 si3 si4 si5 si6 .
David: Okay, now, before we move on. We want to deal with the point we mentioned at the beginning. You say there no extra tones, these 3 tones that some people talk about. What are they?
Nicole: Ok. There are Entering Tones: Entering high-flat, entering mid-flat, entering low-flat.
David: So what do they sound like?
Nicole: sik1, sek3, sik6.
David: So it’s sorta like tone 1, and then tone 3, and then tone 6
Nicole: Yes, 3 flat tones.
David: And they end with -p, -t, and -k.
Nicole: And they’re the silent -p, -t, -k.
David: So that’s our almost silent glottal stop.
Nicole: Yes. sik1, sek3, sik6. The reason I’m saying that the’re not real tones, is that they’re using the same pitches that we already introduced at the beginning of our lesson.
David: The tones aren’t new, we just have a special name for them because they end with a different sound.
Nicole: Exactly.
David: that's why you said there are only 6 tones.
Nicole: Right!