[Updated Rules 2011/04/30]
In Mandarin Chinese, some tones are more common than others; the 4th tone is the most common. The fourth tone is interesting: it’s sharp and abrupt, which makes it sound angry–almost like the person saying it is yelling. It can be fun to say, too. Words with more than one 4th tone are even more fun to say. Following that logic, sentences with lots of 4th-tones should be even more fun to say. It’s even possible to have sentences where every character’s tone is the 4th tone. What’s the longest 4th-tone only sentence you’ve seen? Can you make one longer than mine?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about what the most common bi-syllable tone in Chinese was. 4th-tone/4th-tone was the most common combination. While crunching the numbers for that post, I looked at a list of common terms with that combination. Looking at the list reminded me of the first time I ever looked at Jun Da’s frequency list. Jun Da’s list has an interesting property: you can easily create sentences by reading down the list. I started trying the same thing for the list of 4-4 tone words. It wasn’t easy at first, but after a couple rounds with my fiance, we quickly had turned it into a game.
- your sentence should make sense
- single-4th-tone: 2 points (e.g. 做[zuo4: do]、是[shi4: is, be]、去[qu4: go])
- double-4th tones: 5 points (e.g. 睡觉[shui4jiao4: sleep]、电视[dian4shi4: television]、但是[dan4shi4: but]）
- triple-4th tones: 7 points (e.g. 数据库[shu4ju4ku: database])
- quad-4th-tones: 9 points (e.g.气候变化[qi4hou4bian4hua4: climate change]
- 的、了: -3 points
- punctuation: -8 points (e.g. 、，：；… etc. Excludes ！。？)
- no quotes
- must be spoken only, i.e. 不 can’t be used because of tone sandhi (unless you somehow put it at the end of the sentence).
- No recursive phrases allowed, e.g. “xx下面的下面的下面的下面的……”
Beat My Sentence
现在动物世界注意睡觉、锻炼、运动的重要作用。(9×5 – 8×2 – 3 = 26 points)