Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Shop


Featured:

"Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den" (Template:Zh) is a short narrative poem written in Classical Chinese that is composed of about 94 characters (depending on the specific version) in which every word is pronounced shi (Template:IPAc-cmn) when read in present-day Standard Mandarin, with only the tones differing.

The poem was written in the 1930s by the Chinese linguist Yuen Ren Chao as a linguistic demonstration. The poem is coherent and grammatical in Classical Chinese, but due to the number of Chinese homophones, it becomes difficult to understand in oral speech. In Mandarin, the poem is incomprehensible when read aloud, since only four syllables cover all the words of the poem. The poem is more comprehensible—but still not very intelligible—when read in other varieties of Chinese such as Cantonese, in which it has 22 different syllables, or Hokkien Chinese, in which it has 15 different syllables.

The poem is an example of a one-syllable article, a form of constrained writing possible in tonal languages such as Mandarin Chinese, where tonal contours expand the range of meaning for a single syllable.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools