My First Chinese Palindrome

(Thanks to Lulu for this one)

I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that:

Shànghǎi zìláishuǐ láizì hǎi shàng

上海自来 水 来自海上

(Shanghai’s tap water comes from on top of the sea)

I’m all in favor of fun little word games and/or tongue twisters as a way of learning new vocabulary (tap water), practicing pronunciation, and earning the undying respect and admiration of friends. Well, at least I know it works for vocabulary and pronunciation.

Comments

  1. I’m a new learner (8 months studying Chinese in an American university), and I was so fascinated by the idea of a Chinese palindrome that I asked some of my own informants about them as soon as I found this post. I was only able to come up with one other, but I think it’s a good one:

    山冻落花生花落东山。
    Shāndōng luò huā shēng huā luò dōngshān.
    In Shandong (province) the luohuasheng (kind of peanut) flower falls on the eastern mountain.

  2. I’m a native chinese,
    but honestly, even i can’t decode them.coz they don’t really make any sense.
    大圍三姑三圍大。
    昆明擺檔擺明昆。
    大院高曾高院大。

    if u hv to translate it into English, guess it would be:

    大圍三姑三圍大
    LITERALLY:
    大圍:plumy,plus-size(woman),””means a closed circle or circumference
    三姑:means ur third oldest aunt, or “meddling women”
    三围:means women’s size, bust/waist/hips
    plumy/plus-size woman
    PINYIN:
    da4 wei2 san1 gu1 san1 wei2 da4
    INTERPRETATION:
    “plumpy auntie has big breasts”
    or
    “aunt from Dawei(大围could be a place)is plumpy”

    昆明擺檔擺明昆
    LITERALLY:
    昆明:capital of Yunnan province
    摆档:a booth or a very small store
    the 2nd摆:verb.,means set up (a booth), or lay out(goods)
    明昆:guess it’s somewhere coincidently called Mingkun.
    PINYIN:
    kun1 ming2 bai3 dang4 bai3 ming2 kun1
    INTERPRETATION:
    “Kunming booth be set up in Mingkun”

    大院高曾高院大
    LITERALLY:
    大院:means bid courtyard
    高曾(actually””, means monk)means a senior monk, or hierarch. here”” means senior or high class

    intead of “height/tall”.
    the 2nd高:means the high or tall (height of the fences/walls/trees/moutains etc. or humen body)
    PINYIN:
    da4 yuan4 gao1 seng1 yuan4 gao1 da4
    pronounces as ceng2
    INTERPRETATION:
    “that hierarch live in the courtyard, his yard has tall fences and is big”.

    by the way,
    扁担长,板凳宽。
    板凳没有扁担长,
    扁担没有板凳宽。
    扁担要绑在板凳上,
    板凳偏不让扁担绑在板凳上。
    these are tongue twisters, not palindromes.

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