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Why 你好(nǐ hǎo)sounds like “ní hǎo”?

posted 11 Jun 2016, 11:53 by Yolanda Luo   [ updated 11 Jun 2016, 12:00 ]

你好(nǐ hǎo)would probably be the first word that students learn when study Chinese. It means “hello” in English and literally is translated as “you good”.

Although the pinyin of 你好 are two syllables with 3rd tone, however, when people pronounce this greeting word, it doesn’t sound like “nǐ hǎo” but “ní hǎo”. This is because when two syllables with 3rd tone get together, the first one should be changed to the 2nd tone when it is pronounced. Here below we also have other words which follow the same rule:

  • 很好 - hěn hǎo - “hén hǎo” (Very good)
  • 老板 - lǎo bǎn - “láo bǎn” (Boss)

And now, I have a question for my blog readers: when three syllables with 3rd tone get together, which one should be changed to the 2nd tone when pronounce it. For example:

Wǒ hěn hǎo.

我 很 好。

I am very good.

Please leave a message if you know the answer. 谢谢!

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