Online BLCU Chinese Teacher Angela Gives a Lesson on Tones

All people who have an experience of learning Chinese know that speaking Chinese isn’t hard. Speaking right Chinese, that’s the hardest part. It’s not about the pronunciation, it’s about tones.

Chinese language has 5 tones, 4 of them make foreigners’ lives really hard, as the fifth one is neutral tone. The funny fact is that when you are learning tones you don’t think of them as of something complicated, because it’s not that hard to repeat after your teacher and say: mā, má, mǎ, mà. The problem shows itself when you try to say a whole sentence and find out that saying quickly even three words with different tones is kind of impossible.

teaches chinese tonesBesides, by the time you try again, you’ve already forgotten which word had which tone and all other rules.

So let’s see what method of improving the tones a teacher of BLCU online course, Angela, suggests: 

Learn Chinese Tones with a Famous Tough Twister

–Mom rids a horse

What is a tone?
Many Chinese beginners asked me that question before.

BLCU-Learn-Chinese-OnlineIn Chinese, a syllable is composed of an Initial consonant, a Vowel and a tone. The tone of a word describe
s how the pitch changes of a syllable. We have four tones and a neutral tone.

第一声5-5            第二声3-5            第三声2-1-4       第四声5-1

the first tone     the second tone    the third tone  the fourth tone

tone 1tone 2tone 4tone 4




mā                          má                      mǎ                         mà

妈(mother)         麻(flax)               马(horse)              骂(to scold)

Different tones have different meanings. And the tones also make the language beautiful and interesting.

So let’s practise the tones with a very interesting tough twister.

Māma qí mǎ, mǎ màn, māma mà mǎ.


Mom rides a horse. The horse is slow. Mom scolds the horse.

妈 mean mother. First tone, high and flat. Pitch it high enough, and keep it throughout.


妈妈 mom. The second syllable of this word is a neutral tone which pronounce in middle pitch and very short.

to ride. Second tone. It is a raising tone, similar to expressing surprise in English. “What?”“Ha?”

horse, third tone, dropping low then rising. Be sure to let it drop low enough.马, horse.

骂, to scold. Forth tone, sharp falling.

Now try read this tongue twister by yourself please. Pay attention to the tones.

Māma qí mǎ, mǎ màn, māma mà mǎ.


If you find this method useful and think that you should join Angela’s classes or any other teacher’s classes of BLCU online course, you can learn more about the program here.

If you want to join short-term or long-term courses in BLCU, you can find more information about the courses here.

To apply, contact us at or through our site.

One response to “Online BLCU Chinese Teacher Angela Gives a Lesson on Tones

Comments are closed.