3

秘密 is a curious word because both characters are pronounced mì yet they are different from each other. Given that there are so many homophonous characters in Chinese, I'm curious if there's any other combinations of them into words, and if not why did 秘密 become the exception?

5
  • 1
    How about something like: 实时? 屈曲?
    – Mou某
    Feb 25 at 16:32
  • I don't think I've learned that one yet, but it is another example yes :) Feb 25 at 16:44
  • 2
    Recently I encountered 全权 in a book I'm reading. A lot of names are like this, e.g. I have a friend 岳悦.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Feb 25 at 18:49
  • It is homophonous because of the 必 component, which makes certain characters sound like “bi” and certain characters sound like “mi”.
    – Soroush
    Feb 26 at 11:26
  • 2
    Also more than one yìyì!
    – Olle Linge
    Feb 26 at 13:07
4

I've come across words like this a couple of times.
逝世 shìshì
致志 zhìzhì
世事 shìshì

Alliteration (双声) seems to be quite common in Putonghua, and this is an extreme form of alliteration.

It's interesting how all these examples use the fourth tone.

There are more words like this but they tend to be less commonly used or literary words (书面语). Eg: 幽忧 yōuyōu

Edit: Mou某 gave two other good examples: 屈曲 qūqū; 实时 shíshí. And these aren't fourth tone, which is nice.
Edit 2: 全权 quánquán (from Becky 李蓓 's comment)
Edit 3: 意义 yìyì; 意译 yìyì; 异议 yìyì (from Olle Linge's comment)

7
  • 1
    時事、時勢、實事、事實、是事、石室。
    – joehua
    Feb 26 at 3:47
  • @joehua apart from 是事, none of these are what the OP was asking about, because they all have two different tones. As for 是事, I can't see it in my dictionaries Feb 26 at 10:56
  • I don't see the word tone in OP's question though.
    – joehua
    Feb 26 at 11:42
  • @joehua,you have a point. Still, for me the OP gave mì, which specifies the tone, so I decided to take the restrictive definition of homophone. So here for me the requirement is that both parts have the same tone. Feb 26 at 13:59
  • 2
    I encountered 授受 in my studies, as part of 男女授受不亲.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Mar 17 at 0:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.