This tool is designed to help you test and practice your knowledge of Mandarin Pinyin and tones. After you click the Play button, the system randomly plays a native speaker recording of a Chinese character or word (character compound). Select the tone matching the character or word played. You can play the recording multiple times before you select your answer. If you are still unsure, tap the light-bulb button on the toolbar to view the Pinyin and tap the Play button.
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 a 2nd tone. For example, 你好
2. When the character 一
(one), which is a 1st tone by itself, is followed by a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd tone, it becomes a 4th tone. For example, 一些
3. When the character 一
(one), which is 1st tone by itself, is followed by a 4th tone, it becomes a 2nd tone. For example, 一半
4. When the character 不
(no,not), which is a 4th tone by itself, is followed by another 4th tone, it becomes a 2nd tone. For example, 不要
Dictionaries, textbooks, and websites 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.