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Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research

One of my Chinese students explained to me that there are four
basic Chinese pitch patterns, at least for mandarin:

1) flat pitch
2) rising pitch contour
3) high-to-low or high-to-low-high pitch contour
4) falling pitch contour

He then gave me the following phrases that would help me get around

ni3 hao3         -- hello
xie4 xie4        -- thanks  (x pronouced "tsh", I think)
dui4 bu4 qi3     -- sorry or excuse me
zai4 jian4       -- goodbye (z pronounced "j")
duo1 shao3 qian2 -- how much?
tai4 gui4 le     -- too expensive
tching3          -- please

It's not the absolute pitch that's important, it's the shape of the
contour. If you get the pitch contour wrong, you won't be understood.

Jim Beauchamp
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign