- Mandarin Chinese Tone Drill

This tool is designed to help you test and practice your knowledge of Mandarin Pinyin and tones. After you tap or click the Play button, the system randomly plays the native speaker recording of a Chinese character or word (character compound). Select one of the provided answers you think it is correct. You can play the recording multiple times before you select the answer. If you are still not sure, tap the light-bulb button on the toolbar to view the Pinyin and then tap Play button.

Mandarin Tool Drill    





Once you are comfortable with the one-syllable characters, try multiple syllable words, which can help you understand not only the basic tones of Mandarin, but also the tone changes (also known as tone sandhi) in Chinese words. The Mandarin tone change rules are:

1. When a 3rd tone is followed by another 3rd tone, the first one becomes 2nd tone. For example, 你好(nǐhǎo => níhǎo).
2. When (one), which is 1st tone by itself, is followed by a 1st, 2nd or 3rd tone, it becomes 4th tone. For example, 一些(yīxiē => yìxiē).
3. When (one), which is 1st tone by itself, is followed by a 4th tone, it becomes 2nd tone. For example, 一半(yībàn => yíbàn).
4. When (no,not), which is 4th tone by itself, is followed by a 4th tone, it becomes 2nd tone. For example, 不要(bùyào => búyào).

Dictionaries, textbooks and web sites typically provide only the words’ original tones. During your multi-syllable drill session, if the word has a tone change, you can tap the word in the history list to listen to the changed tone again.