Word tone sandhi

In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of a word will sometimes differ from it’s pinyin transcription. You can read more about this complex topic on Wikipedia. In this article we will go over how tone sandhi relates to the words in HanziHero.

HanziHero word pinyin will not reflect sandhi changes

The pinyin transcription of the word which you need to type in within your reviews will not reflect tone sandhi. So the word 所以 suǒyǐ will not be transcribed as suóyǐ within HanziHero, even though that is how it is pronounced. We will also not currently accept suóyǐ as an answer, either.

We do this to follow the convention followed by the Chinese themselves. For example, the entry within Taiwan’s Ministry of Education dictionary also follows this convention, as does every other Chinese dictionary.

This is also the case for the tone sandhi around the characters 一 and 不 as well. E.g., for 不用 bùyòng the pinyin transcription that one must type in will be bùyòng, not búyòng. Just like how it is within MOEDict.

HanziHero word audio will reflect sandhi changes

In HanziHero, the audio recordings we have respect tone sandhi. So 所以 suǒyǐ will indeed be voiced as suóyǐ as it should be. And 不用 bùyòng will indeed be voiced as búyòng.

After all, it would be silly for the audio we have to not pronounce it as the Chinese themselves do!

Tips and closing comments

Tone sandhi is confusing, and how it relates to what you learn in HanziHero is no different.

However, simply think “how would this be looked up or transcribed within a dictionary” every time you answer the “pronunciation” question for a word, and you’ll be just fine.

In future versions of the application, we hope to add information indicating where tone sandhi is at play for each word. If you have any other suggestions on how tone sandhi can be improved within HanziHero, please reach out.