I had a meeting today with colleagues from the Mandarin Gateway, an organisation based in Glasgow heavily involved in promoting Chinese language and culture throughout Scotland. Through the PiE project, my "day job" we're going to be involved in a number of Chinese initiatives in the coming year, starting with a Chinese language and culture summer school for students in local schools.
Anyway, after our meeting I had the chance to speak to 林凡 who helped solve something which has confused me since I first started learning Chinese.
你好 nǐ hǎo to me should have been pronounced both in 3rd tone, but any time I hear people saying 你好 it sounds as if the 你 is either a high tone or a rising tone. Today, 凡 explained that when two 3rd tone words come together, the first one is pronounced in 2nd tone, so it becomes almost ní hǎo, although it would still be written in Pinyin as nǐ hǎo.
I guess this also works for 很好 hěn hǎo because that's another phrase which sounds much more like hén hǎo!
I also found out today about 因为 / 所以 sentences:
yīn wéi wǒ jīn tiān hěn máng, sǔo yǐ wǒ jīn tiān hěn lèi
"Because I am very busy today, therefore I am very tired."
So 因为 yīn wéi is "because" and 所以 sǔo yǐ is "therefore". Once I've learned a few more adjectives I'll try to come up with some more examples.