Fifth Tone
(1,057 words)

“Fifth tone” is a term that has been employed in characterizations of Mandarin phonology with several different meanings. It is most commonly used to refer to the so-called neutral tone or light tone (qīngshēng 輕聲). This term is employed in analyses that view the unstressed, short tone found in a small number of grammatical particles (e.g., the subordinating particle de [tə] 的) as a phonemic lexical tone distinct from the four basic tones of modern standard Mandarin. It is also often employed in informal descriptions of the standard Mandarin tone system…

Cite this page
Zev HANDEL, “Fifth Tone”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 28 May 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000155>
First published online: 2015



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