Thursday, 28 February 2008

三 –sān – three

The character for the number three follows a familiar pattern, it has exactly three horizontal strokes. Having seen one and two, you could almost have guessed what the character was going to look like, couldn’t you?

It is 三, written sān in pinyin and pronounced san with a 1st or high, level tone.

When you are learning individual words of Mandarin it can be very difficult to get the tones right. It is easier to learn the correct tones if you group a few words together and practice repeating them throughout the day.

So, remember…

yī is pronounced ee, with a 1st or level tone.
èr is pronounced ar, with a 4th or falling tone.
sān is pronounced san, with a 1st or level tone.

Now try saying them all together… yī èr sān.

Tomorrow we shall look at the number four, and I can tell you right now, it isn’t so easy to guess as one, two and three.