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Cantonese Tones and how to remember them

The Cantonese dialect of Chinese has more tones than either Hakka or Mandarin. They can be remebered rather nicely by noting the pronunciation of the numbers in the three columns under the yellow highlighted box of the table below. (We have taken the B column of the TONE assignments as it appears to be more universal in bookform. However, in some places A type TONE assignments are used [sic. Jerry Norman; CHINESE ].)

Four Tone
Categories
Nine Tone
Divisions
Hong Kong Cantonese
Tone TypeToneChineseContourCantonese Numerals as an Aid
to Remembering the Tones
More Examples
(See TONE column B)
AB
I
PING
11/55/ 3saam1
tin1 fung1 fa1 saang1 san1 dung1 heung1 chuen1
24/11/0ling4
si4 seung4 wan4 yau4 hoh4 naam4 tin4 yuen4
II
SEUNG
32/35/ 9gau2
jung2 tung2 joh2 sau2 ho2 ji2 se2 go2
45/13/5ng5
lo5 mo5 fu5 nui5 yau5 yue5 mai5 mai5
III
HUI
53/33/4sei3
joi3 chi3 gin3 jing3 fong3 sau3 si3 taam3
66/21/ 2yi6
noi6 dei6 do6 lo6 fu6 baai6 mai6 ji6
IV
YAP
7a7/55/ 7chat7
juk7 uk7 jik7 hak7 baat7 bit7 gap7 chuk7
7b8/33/8baat8
tit8 sok8 gap8 sat8 tok8 jit8 git8 fat8
89/22/6luk9
jap9 muk9 bak9 luk9 yat9 sap9 yuet9 yik9

Alternately, you can take the order of the numbers to remeber as


Using TONE column B:



      /   Ping  -  TONE B1 saam1  3

YAM   -   Seung -  TONE B2 gau2   9

      \   Hui   -  TONE B3 sei3   4



      /   Ping  -  TONE B4 ling4  0

YEUNG -   Seung -  TONE B5 ng5    5

      \   Hui   -  TONE B6 yi6    2



YAM   \         /  TONE B7 chat7  7

JUNG  -   Yap   -  TONE B8 baat8  8

YEUNG /         \  TONE B9 luk9   6


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© Dylan W.H.S 1996-1998

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This page was first created on Sunday 2nd August 1998.
and then updated Sunday 2nd August 1998.

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