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2.5.2. 起伏(Tone)

把中文当作外语学习的时候,最麻烦的一件事是学习中文每个字的声调,一二三四声以及轻声。ma 这个音,可以有 mā, má, mǎ, mà 以及 ma。更令人格外头痛的是:同一个音的不同声调会代表不同的含义。

When learning Chinese as a foreign language, one of the biggest hurdles is mastering the tones of each character. For example, the sound ma can be expressed as mā, má, mǎ, mà or with a soft tone ma, each with a different meaning depending on the tone.

英文的音节不仅没有指定的声调,并且,声调的变化也不影响音节的含义。一般来说,声调主要在重音音节上有所体现。偶尔,在句末或者意群末的最后一个非重音音节也可能带着声调 —— 这时一般只有平调

In contrast, English syllables don't have designated tones, and changes in tone won't alter the meaning of the syllable. Tones in English are usually reflected on the stressed syllable. Sometimes, the last unstressed syllable at the end of a sentence or phrase may carry a tone, which is typically a flat tone.

理论上,重音音节都可以有最常见的三种声调的读法,平调升调降调。比如,big, big, bigfact, fact, fact…… 而非重音音节只有轻声

In theory, stressed syllables can have the three most common tones: flat, rising, or falling. You could say big with a flat, rising, or falling tone, big, big, big; the same goes for fact, fact, fact, fact... In contrast to stressed syllables, unstressed syllables are always pronounced in a soft tone.

偶尔,你也会听到一些人会使用降升调,一般是在双元音上。比如,sure, idea…… 更多的时候,降升调实际上是由两个音节构成的,前一个音节降调,后一个音节升调,比如,progress 可以被读成 progress.

Occasionally, a falling-rising tone is used, typically on diphthongs, for instance, sure or idea. More often than not, a falling-rising tone is actually made up of two syllables, with the first syllable falling and the second syllable rising. For instance, the word progress can be pronounced as progress

注意:如果短元音的音节用平调读出来,会自然而然地有所拉长

Note: Short vowel syllables read with a flat tone naturally tend to lengthen.

如果是多音节词汇,要分两种情况:

For multi-syllable words, there are two scenarios:

  • 最后一个音节是重音adapt, adapt,adapt,adapt

  • Last syllable is stressed: adapt, adapt,adapt,adapt

  • 倒数第二个音节是重音:

  • Penultimate syllable is stressed:

    • 第一种情况是重音用更高音调 —— 以下用 表示音调(pitch)的提高:

    • First case: using a higher pitch for the stressed syllable, indicated by for pitch increase:

      • component, compo·nent

      • condition, condi·tion

        在这种情况下,最后一个音节只能继续轻声读出来……

        In this case, the last syllable should continue to be read in a soft tone.

    • 第二种情况是重音降调

    • Second case: using a falling tone for the stressed syllable:

      • component, component,component,compo·nent

      • condition, condition,condition,condi·tion

        由于倒数第二个音节是重音,声调在那里已经明显完成,所以,随后的最后一个音节只需要轻声读出来就可以了。

        Since the penultimate syllable is stressed and the tone is clearly completed there, the last syllable only needs to be read softly.

含有重音的多音节单词读的时候就是相对更为吃力。在日常对话中,人们为了方便会下意识地尽量避免使用多音节单词。在口语中更多且又自然地使用含有重音的多音节单词,多多少少是多年教育的结果 —— 在学校里朗读背诵了更多的内容。

Pronouncing multi-syllable words with stress is more challenging. In casual conversation, people tend to avoid using multi-syllable words. The more frequent and natural use of multi-syllable words with stress in spoken English is largely the result of years of education — spending more time reading and reciting content in school.

TIP

这是很多人学英语从未养成的习惯:

在学一个新的英语词汇的时候,要分别用几个声调各自读很多遍……

One habit many English learners haven't developed is to practice a new vocabulary word with different tones repeatedly.

传统的语音教学里,声调intonation)一般只涉及到句末的词汇,疑问句用升调,祈使句用降调 —— 到此为止。

Traditional phonetics lessons usually only cover intonation at the ends of sentences, with rising tones for questions and falling tones for commands.

事实上,自然语流中,每个非弱读音节都可能有属于自己的声调 —— 只不过,在没有计算机辅助的情况下,哪怕是母语使用者也无法逐一分辨…… 事实上,很多人连自己语音的每个音节声调究竟是如何控制的都无法说清楚。

However, in natural speech, every non-weak syllable might carry its own tone. Without technological assistance, even native speakers might struggle to distinguish these subtle differences. In fact, many people can't articulate how they control the tone of each syllable in their own speech.