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bảo tàng, the last tone is huyền. However, you can hear it pronounced as a rising tone pattern in Google Translate.

Please tell me what's the cause of the change?

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  • I'd recommend doing some reading up on tone sandhi: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_sandhi
    – Tristan
    Mar 5 at 10:12
  • @Tristan This has no relevanxe for Vietnamese.
    – fdb
    Mar 5 at 14:55
  • I do not hear a rising tone on tàng.
    – fdb
    Mar 5 at 14:58
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    @fdb true, that was me jumping to conclusions before reading properly
    – Tristan
    Mar 5 at 21:22
  • The tone is the same as if you get Google Translate to pronounce huyền. It does sound like a (slightly) rising tone – definitely not 21 or 31 as Wikipedia describes the huyền tone. Possibly it’s simply an error in Google Translate’s voice synthesis for Vietnamese. Mar 6 at 9:23

1 Answer 1

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This appears to be specific to Google. Compare the following recordings on Forvo, across several Vietnamese accents; all these examples have the huyền tone in the final position:

To my ear, the Google recording as cited above has a huyền tone that is long, quite breathy and does not fall very much at all, resulting in a level pitch. Substitute other huyền-tone words, and you get a similar pattern. Non-final huyền tones become shorter, and the fall is a little more pronounced. Thus, we can only say that this is a "sentence prosody"-level intonational effect of this one Google voice. Compare that to the Google voice for the ngang tone.

Note that I will say this does sound somewhat artificial. Does it impede comprehension? I personally don't think so; it's low enough that it's distinct from ngang, breathy enough to be distinguished from (Northern!) nặng (the description in the OP actually sounds more like Southern nặng), and doesn't rise nearly enough to sound like (Northern) hỏi.

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  • I am a beginning learner. It seems Google Translate is not a good tool for me to learn the pronunciation.
    – zzzgoo
    Apr 4 at 4:46

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