Friday, February 26, 2021

Chinese Homophonic Characters 汉字谐音

Chinese Homophonic Characters 汉字谐音

同音词 homonym, homophone
相同的声音 same sound

Homophonic puns exist in the Chinese language.

A sign for a porridge shop in Wenzhou puns Wenzhounese people 溫州人/Wēnzhōurén, altering the second character 州/zhōu to an exact homophone 粥/zhōu meaning porridge, giving 溫粥人 (lit. warm-porridge-people).

Nián nián yǒu yú - 年年有餘 "There will be an abundance every year" homophonous with 年年有魚 "There will be fish every year." As a result, fish are eaten and used as common decorations during Chinese New Year.

Nián gāo - 年糕 "niangao" homophonous with 年高 from 年年高升 nián nián gāoshēng or "raised higher each year," leading to the belief that those who eat niangao should have greater prosperity with each new coming year.

88 (bābā) is pronounced similarly to 拜拜 "bàibài" or the Chinese loanword for "bye-bye." It has therefore become a common way of saying "see you later" when leaving a conversation, certainly similar to "ttyl" or "talk to you later" in English.

3Q (/sæn kʰju/) ) - The number 3 is pronounced as "sān" [sán] in Mandarin, so this combination sounds like English "thank you" (/θæŋk.ju/) and is surely used as such.

55555 - The number 5, "wǔ" in mandarin. These numbers make it seem like a person is sobbing.

Ping'an - In some localities it is customary to always place a vase (瓶, píng) on a table (案,àn) when moving into a new home for good luck, because the combination sounds like "平安" (píng'ān) meaning peace and tranquility.

Kuaizi - A traditional wedding custom involves bride and groom exchanging chopsticks, because the word for chopsticks, "筷子" (kuàizi) puns with "快子" (kuàizǐ) which means to quickly have a son.

Fú - Bats are a common motif in traditional Chinese painting, because the word for bat, "蝠" (fú) is homophonous with the word for good fortune, "福" (fú).

There is similarity between the word for "ice" (冰, "bīng") and the word for "soldier" (兵, "bīng").

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