Let’s face it, learning the tones of Mandarin Chinese is a challenging endeavor, and the stereotypical “mā má mǎ mà” example isn’t super helpful.
So I thought this was sort of hilarious but surprisingly accurate, and also good for explaining to non-Mandarin learners how much a difference tone makes even in English
The Dude System:
First Tone: Dūde, the disapproving tone, as to the clumsy roommate who’s just knocked over your three-foot Graphix and gotten bong water all over your Poli Sci 142 reader: “Dude, I can’t believe you spilled my bong again!”
Second Tone: Dúde?, in the concerned but creeped-out way you might address the roommate you discover sitting naked and cross-legged in the dark, chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” and sounding a little brass bell.
Third Tone: Duǔde, scornfully, as if your roommate has asked to borrow 50 dollars so his sensei can align his chakras: “Yeah right, dude.”
Fourth Tone: Dùde!, as if you are exclaiming in triumph to your roommate when coming home from class having gotten a date with mega-babe Elena from your macroeconomics class.
There’s an mp3 on the site, and it’s worth poking around the other articles. Also if you are not familiar with dude lingo some British person commented on using a similar system but with “what."