The HSK 4 list that I am currently studying has the word 结果 with a pronunciation of jie1guo3 and a meaning of bear fruit. Since I thought that jie would be in second tone, as in 结婚 I decided to make a list of characters and related compound words where the meanings may be related or differ slightly and the tone differs despite the syllable being the same. For example, 教书，jiao1shu1 / 教育 jiao4yu4. However, in trying to create the list I could not find 结果 with a pronunciation of jie1guo3 in the suggested dictionary entries. It must be in there somewhere, since it is in the HSK 4 list, unless somebody manually edited that card. Any advice? I was doing this in the current (i.e., not legacy) web version.
The HSK 4 list that I am currently studying has the word 结果 with a pronunciation of jie1guo3
In Skritter, 结果 is listed with a second tone, which means “result; outcome”. This is certainly the word that is intended in HSK4, so the list you’re using is wrong. The pronunciation for words is common for all lists, so it’s not possible to have a separate pronunciation in a specific list. Would you be able to share where you see the first tone pronunciation?
However, in trying to create the list I could not find 结果 with a pronunciation of jie1guo3 in the suggested dictionary entries.
The confusion is probably due to the fact that 结果 can also be read with a first tone, but then it means “to bear fruit”. While hard to quantify, this reading is probably orders of magnitude less common than the reading with a second tone, meaning “result; outcome”. Unfortunately, we can’t at the moment list multiple pronunciation for words (only single characters), so we opt for the most common one, or jie2guo3 in this case.
Thanks, Olle. I may have been in a bit of early morning brain fog when I was pondering this. Looking at the list it looks like jie2guo3 was the default reading. Maybe I was looking at my Zhongwen popup and had already determined to make said list, so I got confused about what was actually in Skritter. If I see otherwise later I’ll let you know. Anyway, it looks there is no way to make a card for 结果 with the less common meaning of “bear fruit.” If that’s the case, I wonder if I will find similar problems if I continue to grow my new list.
Anyway, it looks there is no way to make a card for 结果 with the less common meaning of “bear fruit.” If that’s the case, I wonder if I will find similar problems if I continue to grow my new list.
This is quite rare, so I don’t think you need to worry about it. Usually when there are multiple readings of the same polysyllabic word, one of the meanings is also much, much more common than the other.
The workaround for now is to include the alternate reading in the definition of the word. We do this with the official definitions sometimes, but not systematically since we can’t manually go through tens of thousands of words. I have added "(jiē- means “bear fruit”)“ to the definition of 結果 for now.
Personally, I add other such information in the definition, too. I sometimes want to show different pronunciation standards and will then add this in the definition, so the definition for 研究 might be ”to study; to research (TW ~jiù)“. The definition is unique to you, so you can write whatever you want.
Naturally, this is not ideal, but since it affects only a small number of words (if you study Mainland standard, it really isn’t a big problem) and requires major development work to fix, it’s the best we can do for now. Hope this helps!
Thanks, Olle. FYI, I came across two more examples in the HSK 4 list yesterday. (These are characters in which the same syllable can be read in a different tone to give a different but somewhat related meaning.):
转 in third tone can mean “turn” or “transfer.”
In fourth tone can mean “revolve.”
分 in first tone has meanings including “divide” and “one tenth.”
In fourth tone has meanings including “part”, “a share” , “ingredient” , “minute” , “cent.”
To clarify, what I said above is only true for words with two syllables or more. We can and do have multiple pronunciations and associated definitions for single characters, which is what you’re talking about. If you check 转 in Skritter, it should have two pronunciations (if you tap the speaker icon more than once, it cycles through the available audio):
And two definitions, one for each pronunciation:
to turn; to change; pass on; transfer
What I meant was that we cannot with the current system have two separate recordings like this for words consisting of two syllables or more. My comment that this was quite rare and not something that you really need to worry about referred to such words. Single characters with multiple pronunciations are, on the other hand, quite common.