5

In English, ambiguity (mishearing, or intentional wordplay) can be created by boundary shifting. Do you have anything like this in Chinese? Thank you. HH

(written space -shifting)

notable -- no table -- not able

AMIABLE TOGETHER = AM I ABLE TO GET HER? (by Dmitri Borgmann)
              is a perfect longer example.

(aural (spoken?) "juncture" -shifting) -- (moving of perceptual grouping?)

grade A    ---   gray day 
night-rate   ---  nitrate 
I scream     ---   ice cream 
a nice man   ---   an ice man 
home-acre    ---   hoe-maker 

Intended tags: Wordplay, Speech-error, Humor

  • Something interesting to read: matrix67.com/blog/archives/2571 – user23013 Jul 29 '16 at 16:07
  • This is my thread (my question) so I can comment, but to comment on other threads, I apparently need 50 reputation points ! -- ( All these rules ! -- and this rule makes zero sense.) After I get to 50 points I will feel more comfortable about this site. (Currently I feel deprived, handcuffed.) ______________________________________ Thank you for the 3 answers so far. They are all excellent. HH – HizHa Jul 29 '16 at 21:03
  • Excuse me while I kiss the sky – user3306356 Aug 1 '16 at 10:05
6

喜欢上 一个人

to get to like someone or to get to like being alone

喜欢 上一个 人

to like the previous man/woman

喜欢 上 一个人

to like to f-word someone

5

Chinese do have mishearing issue, because of the limited pronunciation and tones.

The classic example may be all foreigners know when they were starting to learn Chinese tones is:

请问shui jiao 多少钱一 wan ?

If foreigners don't pay attention to the tones, It could be: 请问水饺多少钱一碗?(How much for one bow of dumplings, please?), or 请问睡觉多少钱一晚?(How much for sleeping with you for one night, please?). 睡觉 and 水饺 have same pronunciation but different tones, 晚 and 碗 have the exactly same pronunciation and tone.

  • Mandarin only has 4 sounds, in contrast, Cantonese has 9 sounds, mishearing problem is less common. – Tang Ho Jul 29 '16 at 4:21
  • I don't think mishearing is common issue in any language, but Chinese do have. – thinwa Jul 29 '16 at 5:32
4

There are wordplay in every language, Chinese is no exception.

Example:

"下雨天留客,天留人不留。"
"Raining day make the guest stay, although heaven keeps the guest, the host does not."

"下雨天,留客天。留人不?" "留!"
"Raining day, a day to keep the guest. Do you keep the guest ?" (answer) "Keep!"

Example:

From Steven Chow's movies-

西人,狠樣 ( can't explain here because these are vulgar terms)

  • 西人,狠樣 ( can't explain here because these are vulgar terms) --( it is in Cantonese) – Tang Ho Jul 29 '16 at 4:22
1

Another example, "小處不可隨便" is a motto which means one should be serious even on small matters.

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