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Natetan
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(02-03-2012, 03:56 AM)
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http://www.mmtaylor.net/Literacy_Book/DOCS/05.html

In Chinese it is possible to compose a whole paragraph that consists of a string of homophones, as in the following oft-quoted example.

Shi shi shi shi shi shi, shi shi, shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi, shi shi shi shi shi, shi shi, shi shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi shi shi, shi shi shi, shi shi shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi shi shi shi, shi shi shi. Shi shi shi, shi shi shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi, shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi. Shi shi shi shi.

translation:

"A poet named Shi lived in a stone house and liked to eat lion flesh and he vowed to eat ten of them. He used to go to the market in search of lions and one day chanced to see ten of them there. Shi killed the lions with arrows and picked up their bodies carrying them back to his stone house. His house was dripping with water so he requested that his servants proceed to dry it. Then he began to try to eat the bodies of the ten lions. It was only then he realized that these were in fact ten lions made of stone. Try to explain the riddle. "
Fox318
HE HATE ME

World's #1 Los Angeles XTREME fan.
(02-03-2012, 03:57 AM)
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Oh... I shi
ezrarh
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(02-03-2012, 03:58 AM)
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I call bullshit on that translation.
shagg_187
lapdance transform pants
(02-03-2012, 03:58 AM)
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Holy shi...
Lamel
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(02-03-2012, 03:58 AM)
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Oh shi...

Edit: buffalo!
Jamesfrom818
Banned
(02-03-2012, 03:58 AM)
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Originally Posted by Fox318

Oh... I shi

Well played
Invisible_Insane
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(02-03-2012, 03:59 AM)
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You've gotta be shi
Korey
Juniored for the safety and protection of the United States of America. U S A U S A U S A
(02-03-2012, 03:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by ezrarh

I call bullshit on that translation.

It's legit; there's a wikipedia page on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Ea..._the_Stone_Den


SolKane
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(02-03-2012, 03:59 AM)
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Every first semester Chinese student must learn and memorize this poem.
-Eddman-
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(02-03-2012, 03:59 AM)
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That's certainly a piece of shi
Lionheart1337
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(02-03-2012, 04:00 AM)
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Gecko Moria
Grakl
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(02-03-2012, 04:00 AM)
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This is true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Ea..._the_Stone_Den

but

However, changes in pronunciation over 2,500 years resulted in a large degree of homophony in Classical Chinese, so the poem becomes completely incomprehensible when spoken in Modern Standard Chinese or when written in romanization.

Evlar
Banned
(02-03-2012, 04:00 AM)

Originally Posted by ezrarh

I call buffaloshi on that translation.

There we are.
Laughing Banana
Weeping Pickle
(02-03-2012, 04:03 AM)
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Originally Posted by SolKane

Every first semester Chinese student must learn and memorize this poem.

It's not going to be that hard, isn't it? Just make sure you say/write Shi correct amount of times, hahaha.
SolKane
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(02-03-2012, 04:06 AM)
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Originally Posted by Laughing Banana

It's not going to be that hard, isn't it? Just make sure you say/write Shi correct amount of times, hahaha.

Well you have to get the tones right, which is the hard part. Tones are the most difficult aspect of Chinese for most Western learners.
First Name
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(02-03-2012, 04:06 AM)
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So what is the answer to the riddle?
Evlar
Banned
(02-03-2012, 04:08 AM)

Originally Posted by First Name

So what is the answer to the riddle?

Shi.
shagg_187
lapdance transform pants
(02-03-2012, 04:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by Evlar

Shi.

Wrong. It's Shi.
_Xenon_
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(02-03-2012, 04:09 AM)
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That's classical Chinese, not modern Chinese (mandarin, cantonese, etc) everybody speaks today.
Pinko Marx
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(02-03-2012, 04:16 AM)
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不是
Szu
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(02-03-2012, 04:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by First Name

So what is the answer to the riddle?

Shi Happens.
Korey
Juniored for the safety and protection of the United States of America. U S A U S A U S A
(02-03-2012, 04:41 AM)
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Here's someone reading it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIY6iFc5lUw
atomsk
Party Pooper
(02-03-2012, 04:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lionheart1337

Gecko Moria

I'm not sure what's sadder, that I immediately got this, or that my second thought was "wasn't that more of a kishishishi"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ue6Y1FwNgw
filler
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(02-03-2012, 04:43 AM)
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baekshi
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(02-03-2012, 04:44 AM)
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shi shi shi, shi shi shi
ElectricBlue187
Banned
(02-03-2012, 04:46 AM)
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So in actual written Chinese it's actually comprehensible
Natetan
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(02-03-2012, 04:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by Korey

Here's someone reading it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIY6iFc5lUw

I love youtube comments

"sounds like he needs jumper cables"
5amshift
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(02-03-2012, 04:52 AM)
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And when I thought nothing could top the buffalo buffalo paragraph. This is awesome, hahah.
KevinCow
Banned
(02-03-2012, 04:53 AM)
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Originally Posted by rekameohs

I've always liked this one.

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

Originally Posted by Natetan

I love youtube comments

"sounds like he needs jumper cables"

Ahahaha, holy shit.
Opiate
Depressingly Realistic
(02-03-2012, 04:55 AM)
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These aren't homophones unless you ignore tone. Which is acceptable in English, but not in Chinese. They are not written the same, they do not sound the same.

The only place this would seem "the same" would be in pinyin.
Utako
Banned
(02-03-2012, 04:57 AM)
This is way cooler than the English analogues. Also, some of you guys should learn how to pronounce pinyin. It's not "shee" or "shi--," it's "shuh."


Originally Posted by Opiate

These aren't homophones unless you ignore tone. Which is acceptable in English, but not in Chinese. They are not written the same, they do not sound the same.

The only place this would seem "the same" would be in pinyin.

They are "the same" enough for the Chinese to recognize the novelty in it, and hence write the poem (and similar such).
Natetan
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(02-03-2012, 04:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

These aren't homophones unless you ignore tone. Which is acceptable in English, but not in Chinese. They are not written the same, they do not sound the same.

The only place this would seem "the same" would be in pinyin.

well, the 'poem' wouldn't exist if they (assuming a chinese person created this) didn't think there was some similarities.

I remember someone in my chinese class did a presentation with all 'ma' words.
rpmurphy
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(02-03-2012, 04:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

These aren't homophones unless you ignore tone. Which is acceptable in English, but not in Chinese. They are not written the same, they do not sound the same.

The only place this would seem "the same" would be in pinyin.

Yes, but there are homophones. Four ways to pronounce shi produces more than four possible characters, as shown in the text here.
Pinko Marx
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(02-03-2012, 04:58 AM)
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Originally Posted by Utako

This is way cooler than the English analogues. Also, some of you guys should learn how to pronounce pinyin. It's not "shee" or "shi--," it's "shuh."

its more pronounced like "sure".
ChuyMasta
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(02-03-2012, 05:01 AM)
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Shi just got real
Grakl
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(02-03-2012, 05:02 AM)
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My personal favorite

"Wouldn't the sentence 'I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign' have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?"

Though, "I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know." (Groucho Marx) is great.
Korey
Juniored for the safety and protection of the United States of America. U S A U S A U S A
(02-03-2012, 05:02 AM)
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Originally Posted by rekameohs

I've always liked this one.

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

That one's kind of cheating though since it's like two sentences
SolKane
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(02-03-2012, 05:05 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

These aren't homophones unless you ignore tone. Which is acceptable in English, but not in Chinese. They are not written the same, they do not sound the same.

The only place this would seem "the same" would be in pinyin.

This is partially true but not entirely accurate, because at least several of these characters have the same tonal value but a different meaning, and are therefore homophones according to your strict definition. Look at the second, fourth, sixth and seventh characters on line 1, then the corresponding pinyin. But you are right that tone is phonemic in Chinese but not in English, so the analogy to the English "buffalo" sentence is not completely equivalent. There is something interesting going on with the stress pattern of the English example and the overall intonation, but that is attributable more to the rules of English prosody than to the phonemic values of English.
Last edited by SolKane; 02-03-2012 at 05:07 AM.
Opiate
Depressingly Realistic
(02-03-2012, 05:08 AM)
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Originally Posted by Natetan

I remember someone in my chinese class did a presentation with all 'ma' words.

Originally Posted by rpmurphy

Yes, but there are homophones. Four ways to pronounce shi produces more than four possible characters, as shown in the text here.

Right, but I would argue it's only because of pinyin. It wouldn't be nearly as recognizable without that -- and pinyin only exists because other languages exist.

It doesn't mean it's totally worthless. Just that this isn't as straightforward as the "Buffalo Buffalo" example -- more like the "had had" example, which only works if you ignore punctuation.
Opiate
Depressingly Realistic
(02-03-2012, 05:10 AM)
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Originally Posted by SolKane

This is partially true but not entirely accurate, because at least several of these characters have the same tonal value but a different meaning, and are therefore homophones according to your strict definition. Look at the second, fourth, sixth and seventh characters on line 1, then the corresponding pinyin. But you are right that tone is phonemic in Chinese but not in English, so the analogy to the English "buffalo" sentence is not completely equivalent. There is something interesting going on with the stress pattern of the English example and the overall intonation, but that is attributable more to the rules of English prosody than to the phonemic values of English.

Right, I don't mean to suggest there are absolutely no homophones, just that they aren't all homophones, which is the necessary metric for this sort of accomplishment to be fully without caveat. There are only 4 (+1) tones in Chinese; it would numerically impossible for this many unique words to be contained within that many tones.
Utako
Banned
(02-03-2012, 05:10 AM)

Originally Posted by Pinko Marx

its more pronounced like "sure".

Yeah, but the "r" is barely audible compared the typical American pronunciation.
SolKane
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(02-03-2012, 05:12 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

Right, but I would argue it's only because of pinyin. It wouldn't be nearly as recognizable without that -- and pinyin only exists because other languages exist.

It doesn't mean it's totally worthless. Just that this isn't as straightforward as the "Buffalo Buffalo" example -- more like the "had had" example, which only works if you ignore punctuation.

The pinyin is irrelevant, it just makes the character readable within a romanized lettering system. The sound is still the same. Homophony defines a sound and meaning relationship (i.e. equality in sound, disparity in meaning), it has nothing to do with with representation (which is homonymy).

Originally Posted by Opiate

Right, I don't mean to suggest there are absolutely no homophones, just that they aren't all homophones, which is the necessary metric for this sort of accomplishment to be fully without caveat. There are only 4 (+1) tones in Chinese; it would numerically impossible for this many unique words to be contained within that many tones.

OK this is clearer; they aren't all homophones, but some of them are.

Most people would be surprised by the amount of homophones in Chinese, though, even with the tones. They far outnumber those in English, because Chinese has a very limiting rule set governing the creation of syllables.
Last edited by SolKane; 02-03-2012 at 05:15 AM.
Opiate
Depressingly Realistic
(02-03-2012, 05:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by SolKane

The pinyin is irrelevant, it just makes the character readable within a romanized lettering system. The sound is still the same. Homophony defines a sound and meaning relationship (i.e. equality in sound, disparity in meaning), it has nothing to do with with representation (which is homonymy).

Pinyin is absolutely relevant. This sentence:

1) Does not look consistently identical when writing in Chinese.

2) Does not sound consistently identical when speaking Chinese.

It only looks identical when discussing Pinyin writing.

OK this is clearer; they aren't all homophones, but some of them are.

Which is obviously insufficient when the entire point is that every word is the same. Again, the words are only consistently identical when written in Pinyin.
Last edited by Opiate; 02-03-2012 at 05:20 AM.
SolKane
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(02-03-2012, 05:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

Pinyin is absolutely relevant. This sentence:

1) Does not look like the same word repeated when writing in Chinese (unlike "Buffallo Buffallo")

2) Does not sound like the same word when spoken.

It only looks correct when discussing Pinyin.

Which is obviously insufficient when the entire point is that every word is the same. Again, the words are only consistently identical when written in Pinyin.

Fair enough, I get your point now. It's not completely analogous to the English example, because obviously there are differences in the writing and tonal systems of both. There is homophony in the Chinese example but it is not complete for all the tones and it is also not homonymy.

But it's not perfect in the English example either, for instance, "buffalo" is not exactly the same as "Buffalo" graphically.
Last edited by SolKane; 02-03-2012 at 05:41 AM.
numble
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(02-03-2012, 05:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

There are only 4 (+1) tones in Chinese; it would numerically impossible for this many unique words to be contained within that many tones.

Not really, there are only 33 unique Chinese characters in the story.
There are 45 unique Chinese characters with the sound "shi" in just the 4th tone.
Seraphinianus
Banned
(02-03-2012, 05:34 AM)
yeah right, they probably just made up that sentence to beat the "buffalo" sentence and even then, the "shi" sentence project went bankrupt 5 times before completion due to corruption of those working on the project, not to mention the ecological atrocities that had to be covered up by the government, so as to save the project's face.

or something.
Opiate
Depressingly Realistic
(02-03-2012, 05:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by numble

Not really, there are only 33 unique Chinese characters in the story.
There are 45 unique Chinese characters with the sound "shi" in just the 4th tone.

This is not a reasonable response to my post. I can only assume you did not understand my point.
numble
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(02-03-2012, 05:42 AM)
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Originally Posted by Opiate

This is not a response to my post. I can only assume you did not understand my point.

What did you mean by numeric impossibility then? I think it is a response.

If I take another interpretation of your point, there are 92 total characters in the poem (33 of them unique); but there are more than 92 unique Chinese characters with the pronunciation of "shi" (in varying tones).
Last edited by numble; 02-03-2012 at 06:01 AM.
OpinionatedCyborg
Thread Clinging Troll
(02-03-2012, 06:01 AM)
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Opiate's glitched. Reboot him!

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