Chinese Lesson: The First Tone

The first tone of Mandarin Chinese is a flat, high-pitched tone that is sustained throughout the pronunciation of a syllable (a single character). Try to think of a microwave pinging or person singing.

The best way to learn this is through hearing it and hearing it described, the video below and audio above do this:

As with all tones in Chinese, while the tone does directly affect the meaning of individual words, the tone that any particular word has in modern Chinese is merely a coincidence of the evolution of the language and has no particular significance.

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