Just some person (djonma) wrote in linguaphiles,
Just some person

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Mandarin Question - Tones

Hi, sorry about such a beginner question. I literally picked up Mandarin today; decided I was going to learn it a few days ago, and started reading today, so I am totally new, and can't read anything, so please no Chinese characters!

I have a question about tones. I don't know the 1-4 standards yet, the book I'm reading uses notations instead for some bizarre reason, after going on about 1-4, it just doesn't use them!

I'm reading about asking people if they're busy, hungry, tired, etc, and responses.

It's the negative response that has me a bit confused.

For are you busy; Bù máng. Now the author said that toneless syllables have a tone conditioned by the tone of the following syllable, but he's given absolutely no help on how to work out what tone it'll be. The examples he has are:

Bù máng.
Bù kě.
Bù gāo.
Bú duì.

There's nothing about how you work out which tone the Bu will have...

So umm could someone help me?


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