Talking in Numbers

Chinese is a homonym-rich language. Because it only has 400+ phonemes (spoken syllables), pretty much every word sounds like another word.  It can be extremely confusing; but at the same time it allows for some linguistic creativity, like talking in numbers, as illustrated by this fantastic video clip titled “How to Speak with Numbers in Chinese.” (click on the link if you receive this in an email and can’t see the video player)

(Alert: there is one bad word — but not too bad)

I used to work with a school official named Liu Qifa. We just called him 678 (liu qi ba).

Related posts:

I Want to Eat! I Want to Eat! (how MacDonald’s in China uses talking in numbers for advertising)

What Does Ju Mean? 

 

 

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