Here’s a cool new thing: MDBG has just added color-coding for tones.
(see the Facebook page for more info)
Yes, it’s one more thing to memorize (red = 1st tone, etc.) but I’m hoping the tone-color associations will become automatic after a while. I expect it’ll be especially useful to help me with my biggest problem: inverting the two syllables of a two-syllable word (like bee and honey).
I’m all for it because it’s just one more “donkey bridge” to help us laowai with Chinese’s biggest challenge.
It’s going to be interesting to see if these tone colors become standardized (i.e. other websites using the same colors for tones). If so, I think there’s potential for a printed dictionary someday with color-coded tones as well.
How cool would it be if this were a common conversation in the future:
A: What are the tones for “teacher” again? I know that “lao” is third, but I can’t remember what “shi” is.
B: Three one.
A: Are you sure?
B: Yeah I remember because it’s green red, like Christmas.
A: Oh that’s right, and “honest” is green yellow: three two.
Is anyone else using the tone colors at MDBG?
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