Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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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…

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Zev HANDEL, “Fifth Tone”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 24 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000155>
First published online: 2015

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