How to Read the Tone Marks?

September 1st, 2017 by Pei-Yi No comments »

There are four tones and a neutral tone (quin1sheng1) in Modern Standard Chinese. Please download this PDF file to see the graphic of the 4 tones. A neutral tone syllable is pronounced briefly and softly, and there is no tone marks for it. On the page 2 of previous handout, we have the students practice the tone marks as well.

There are two ways of showing tone in pinyin, using tone marks or numbers, as illustrated below.
w3 number

If you already know the pinyin of the word you want to know, you can go to YB Chinese English Dictionary to look up its corresponding Chinese characters. Select “Pinyin >> Chinese” first, then type pinyin on it. It will show you the Chinese character and English meaning. For example, type quan2 in the translation bar, you will see the meaning.
w3 quan yb

To hear its pronounciation, you can click on the word. It will lead you to its homepage, and then you can click the sound symbol to hear its pronounciation.
w3 quan

Or you can copy and paste the word to Yahoo! Dictionary and click the sound symbol:
w3 yahoo sound

For more details about using English-Chinese dictionaries, please see my previous article on this blog.

For parents to watch:

How to Decide a Chinese Name for My Child?

September 1st, 2017 by Pei-Yi No comments »

If you consider to translate English name into Chinese directly, you can check or type English on Yahoo Dictionary. However, please make sure you talk to me or someone who understands Chinese to make sure the name is okay.^0^

If you want to select a name with a meaning of something, for example, “love,” you can also use Yahoo Dictionary. For example, when you see a word “愛”, and you want to learn more about it, simply copy and paste the word on the search bar, and it will show you its specific meaning. If you choose the “wrong” word, for example, you chooe “熱” instead of “愛”, then the dictionary will tell you that “熱” means “hot.” ^0^ Each Chinese character stands its meanings, but when two characters are put together, they might form a phrase that develops new meanings. On the other hand, if you look up the meanings of each individual character of a phrase, for example, “熱愛,” you will learn that the individual characters do not necessary lead toward the same meaning of the phrase.^0^

w3 name

If you know the pinyin (sound), and want to choose a character for it, you can use YB Chinese English Dictionary. Select “Pinyin >> Chinese” first, then type pinyin on it. It will show you the Chinese character and English meaning. Here’s a little practice: please type “ai4” and see what it says in English.

W3 YB CE dictionary

I am going to give your kids one or two Chinese names. Please look up the meanings with your kids. You are welcome to make your own Chinese names, just let me know what they are (you can copy-and-paste the characters if you have them). We are going to use Chinese names in the class.