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The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty. 《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example: 如此二三日,又聽得後宰門乒乓乒乓,磚瓦亂響。——Chapter 10 他掄槍舞劍,一擁前來,照行者劈頭亂砍,乒乒乓乓,砍有七八十下。——Chapter 14 乒乒乓乓,好便似殘年爆竹;潑潑喇喇,卻就如軍中炮聲。——Chapter 16 “乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in history. :)


乒 is onomatopoetic, like bang! or crack! 乓 is a complementary character to 乒, to denote 乒乓 table tennis, ping pong. They are not used in classical Chinese. 乒 may be used in older vernacular texts, but all modern usage is about table tennis, if zdic.net and Wenlin are to be trusted.

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