The first tone

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
tantg
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:39 pm

The first tone

Postby tantg » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:49 pm

In Cantonese, I notice that what is regarded by all the dictionaries as the first tone has in fact another tone - a tone that drops.

For example, take the word 醫---

First tone: 醫生﹐醫科
Dropping first tone: 醫務﹐醫院﹐醫藥

Some dictionaries may make the distinction between speaking and reading text, but I think it sounds funny if you read aloud all the dropping first tone as the (flat) first tone.

What does the forum think?[/code]

Donq

Normal first tone verse flat first tone

Postby Donq » Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:16 pm

This is an interesting issue regarding the first tone in Cantonese.

If you understand the structure of linguistics, you may agree that each word is governed by how we would have sounded it. My BeiJing teacher often reminded us (my mother tongue is Cantonese) that when a word is combined with another word, that the tone of the following word(s) has influenced over how the tone of the 1st word would end.

Take the words used in this case:

1) 醫藥 = because the 2nd word ends abruptedly in tone, it, thus, causes the 1st word which supposedly sounds flat now to drop as well.

2) 醫生 = because the 2nd word is a first tone word, thus, the ending tone will remain in flat first tone.

Just my two bits.

tantg
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:39 pm

Postby tantg » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:33 pm

Donq, a couple of examples to what you mentioned about Mandarin are:
我很好 (很 in second tone), 旅館很遠 (旅,很 in second tone); although each word is pronounced singly in the third tone.

Back to Cantonese, (which is also my mother tongue, but not my 'father' tongue), I already suspected all along that a first tone followed by another first tone is pronounced unchanged - flat. (Has anyone got a counter example?)

But a first tone followed by a second tone is not pronounced consistently:

醫院 vs 班長(student prefect, class monitor) - both second words 院,長 are in the second tone, but 醫 in falling first, and 班 in flat first.

燒賣蝦餃 - like the previous example, 賣,餃 in second tone, but 燒 in falling first, 蝦 in flat first. (yum yum!)

So what is the rule here?

NgKY

Postby NgKY » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:19 pm

賣 and 餃 have different tone;賣 is Yang-Qu, 餃 is Yin-shang;
院 should be in Yang-Qu, the Yin-shang reading seems colloquial, as you can see from the phrase 妹妹, 地下, where Yang-Qu is changed into Yin-shang.

As for the hypothesis, it still have problem: 夫 in 漁夫 and 丈夫 have different reading: flat in 漁夫 and falling in 丈夫.

Also some single word have this distinction: 思 flat, 司 fall, 詩 fall.

tantg
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:39 pm

Postby tantg » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:04 am

NgKY wrote:賣 and 餃 have different tone;賣 is Yang-Qu, 餃 is Yin-shang;
院 should be in Yang-Qu, the Yin-shang reading seems colloquial, as you can see from the phrase 妹妹, 地下, where Yang-Qu is changed into Yin-shang.

As for the hypothesis, it still have problem: 夫 in 漁夫 and 丈夫 have different reading: flat in 漁夫 and falling in 丈夫.

Also some single word have this distinction: 思 flat, 司 fall, 詩 fall.


Which Cantonese (sub-)dialect are you speaking? I've only heard/said 燒賣 as siu1(falling) maai2. 賣 is maai6 only when used as a verb as in 賣報紙. And 醫院 as ji1(falling) jyun2. Go check 院 on this link
http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/lexi-can/

You said "As for the hypothesis, ...". Which hypothesis?

夫 in 漁夫 and 丈夫 - I am sure 夫 is fu1 falling in both cases, in normal conversation.

Not sure what you are trying to prove with your examples of 妹妹, 地下. I KNOW tones are changeable when speaking, as opposed to, possibly, when reading out loud a literal passage. My question using 醫院 vs 班長, 燒賣蝦餃 is if we can find some rules for tone change, which can be useful to people learning to speak Cantonese.

NgKY
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:46 pm
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Postby NgKY » Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:24 pm

I've heard that the first falling tone changes to first flat tone if it's before another first tone...

NgKY
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:46 pm
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Postby NgKY » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:05 pm

Some words has base tone of first falling, some are high flat and some are high falling. It's said that the base tone is high flat if the morpheme is noun. In the example above it should be 班 in 班長.


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