A question about fall tone

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A question about fall tone

Unread post by camellia » Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:19 am

I want to know at such situation, the fall tone should be used or not?
eg: You like it,don't you?
I remember when at primary school, I was told to read a raise tone but recently I see some books saying that it should be fall tone.
Who can tell me which one is right? Or there are some rules when meet such situation? :?

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Unread post by Lynn » Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:04 am

Camellia, is your L1 a tonal language? I ask, because I've had trouble explaining this to my Cantonese students.

This is my take on the issue. English speakers will use a rising tone when asking for information. If it is a true question, then the rising tone is normally used. However, we will use the question form when we already know the answer, or if we are making an observation. In those cases, the falling tone is used more frequently.

Example: I have just given you a gift and I can't tell from your reaction of you like it or not. "You do like it, don't you?" Rising tone indicates that I really want to know if you like the gift.

Example: You are showing off a prize possession, and it is obvious from your tone and language that you love it. "You really do like, don't you?" Even though this is a question form, it is used with a falling tone, and usually with a slight emphasis on really do. This is merely my observation of an obvious fact.

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Unread post by camellia » Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:24 pm

Dear lynn:
Thanks for your explanation. I think I can understand your meaning without difficulties but I find it's difficult to exprss to students in Chinese. Haha! Anyway, I will try to convey to them.

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target language as the medium of communication...

Unread post by eric_p_m » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:14 am

Dear Camellia,

Lynn's answer was fantastic and you should heed her advice. At the same time, I would urge you to teach your students in the language they wish to learn. About a year ago, I finished teaching in China for about six years. The biggest mistake that I saw in Chinese schools was that their teachers do not communicate with them in the target language. That reinforces English as a foreign language and could never possibly be utilized as a medium of communication for Chinese speakers, which could not be further from the truth. Paraphrase what Lynn has taught you so that your students will be able to understand your meaning.

If you have any other questions, feel free to visit me working inside my on-line school.


Eric Paul Monroe


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