Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den  

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"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.

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