Asia Blog: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam

Chinese Tongue Twisters

Posted in China, Language by Elliott Back on October 17th, 2010.

Check out this “Lion-Eating Poet” Tongue-Twister Essay page. It highlights the possible homophone combinations of shi using a poem called 施氏食獅史 (“Story of Shi Eating the Lions”). Here’s the chinese poem, with links to Nciku for translation:

施氏食獅史
石室詩士施氏,
嗜獅,誓食十獅.
氏時時適市視獅.
十時,適十獅適市.
是時,適施氏適是市.
氏視是十獅,恃矢勢,
使是十獅逝世.
氏拾是十獅屍, 適石室.
石室濕, 氏使侍拭石室.
石室拭,氏始試食十獅屍.
食時, 始識十獅屍,
實十石獅屍.
試釋是事.

The poem was written by Zhao Yuanren (趙元任) who lived between 1892 and 1982. There is a rather excellent Wikipedia article on the Lion Eating Poet in the Stone Den that’s worth reading, as well.

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