kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake

Just a quick one today — I realised that I haven't yet explained how to work out where the tone marks go on pinyin transliterations. First, here's a reminder of what Mandarin tone marks look like and what they mean:

The tone mark always goes on a vowel, never on a consonant. As for which vowel, there's a handy chart on pinyin.info, but essentially it just works like this:

  • If there's an "a" or an "e", it gets the tone mark (you never get both "a" and "e" together in the same syllable).
  • If there's an "ou", the "o" gets the tone mark.
  • In all other cases, the final vowel gets the tone mark.

Simple! I should also note that if you can't type the accents, you can use numbers to indicate tones — for example, guā would be gua1, yú would be yu2, shuǐ would be shui3, and ròu would be rou4. The "fifth tone", or neutral/toneless tone, is written either without a number or as e.g. fu5.

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See here for what these posts are all about.

Date: 2010-07-14 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eatlovenoodles.blogspot.com
The fifth tone is often called the neutral tone.

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