Weird homophones

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All4Ɇn
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Weird homophones

Post by All4Ɇn » 12 Jun 2016 10:26

What are some homophones within a language that you find odd or quirky? I'll start with the one that made me think of making of this thread to begin with

:deu: ist "(he) is" and isst "(he) eats"

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Thrice Xandvii
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 12 Jun 2016 12:25

:eng: pea; pee

Definitely weird, but seldom confusable due to their rather different usages.
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by GrandPiano » 12 Jun 2016 14:02

Thrice Xandvii wrote: :eng: pea; pee

Definitely weird, but seldom confusable due to their rather different usages.
Also, "poop" as in "I'm pooped", "poop" as in "poop deck", and "poop" as in excrement.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by qwed117 » 12 Jun 2016 16:38

:usa: great, grate
Spoiler:
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Iyionaku » 12 Jun 2016 18:27

All4Ɇn wrote:What are some homophones within a language that you find odd or quirky? I'll start with the one that made me think of making of this thread to begin with

:deu: ist "(he) is" and isst "(he) eats"
Even worse:

:deu: Du hast "you have" vs. Du hasst "you hate"

Not so bad in everyday speaking, but extremely arduous for many writers:

seid "you (Pl.) are" vs. seit "since"
das relative neuter nominative and accusative pronoun; dass "that"
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Trebor » 12 Jun 2016 18:41

From French:

la 'the (f. sg.)' ~ 'there'

ou 'or' ~ 'where?'

banc 'bench' ~ banque 'bank'

bout 'end (e.g., of a hall)/tip (of fingers)' ~ boue 'mud'

il a cru 'he believed (tr.)' ~ il a crû 'it increased/grew (intr.)' (e.g., stress, warts)

Edit: The language flag wasn't working, so I just deleted it.

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Iyionaku » 12 Jun 2016 18:59

Trebor wrote: banc 'bench' ~ banque 'bank'
In German, both is Bank.

Another one I struggled with recently: Wagen (carts) vs. Waagen (balances)
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 12 Jun 2016 20:53

All4Ɇn wrote:What are some homophones within a language that you find odd or quirky? I'll start with the one that made me think of making of this thread to begin with

:deu: ist "(he) is" and isst "(he) eats"
Man ist, was man isst.

Now all I can think of is when I thought English was the only language on the planet with homophones. I'm not sure how I thought that.

:eng: dam - damn
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All4Ɇn
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by All4Ɇn » 12 Jun 2016 21:45

Trebor wrote:il a cru 'he believed (tr.)' ~ il a crû 'it increased/grew (intr.)' (e.g., stress, warts)
Similarly
:fra: il a plu "he pleased" and il a plu "it rained"
French is filled to the brim with weird homophones. Especially when liaison is factored:

Les aulx sont amers
The garlic is bitter

Les zoos sont ta mère
The zoos are your mom

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by GrandPiano » 13 Jun 2016 03:44

Mandarin:

树 shù (traditional: 樹) "tree" - 数 shù (tr. 數) "number"
树木 shùmù (tr. 樹木) "tree" - 数目 shùmù (tr. 數目) "number"
书 shū (tr. 書) "book" - 输 shū (tr. 輸) "to lose (a game)"
的 de possessive particle - 得 de particle indicating effect, degree, possibility, etc. of a verb - 地 de adverbial particle
要 yào "to want, will" - 药 yào (tr. 藥 or 葯) "medicine"
是 shì "to be" - 事 shì "matter, thing" - 试 shì (tr. 試) "to try"
在 zài "at, (progressive aspect marker)" - 再 zài "again"
叫 jiào "to call, to be called, to shout" - 较 jiào (tr. 較) "comparatively, to compare"
脚 jiǎo (tr. 腳) "foot" - 角 jiǎo "horn, corner"
使 shǐ "to make, to cause to be" - 屎 shǐ "excrement"
Last edited by GrandPiano on 13 Jun 2016 13:00, edited 1 time in total.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2

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Thrice Xandvii
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 13 Jun 2016 05:28

I think you could simplify things by merely saying "Mandarin." Seems as though it has a level of homophones (even if you include tone) that rivals most any other language.
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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Frislander » 13 Jun 2016 10:05

GrandPiano wrote:Mandarin:
Spoiler:
树 shù (traditional: 樹) "tree" - 数 shù (tr. 數) "number"
树木 shùmù (tr. 樹木) "tree" - 数目 shùmù (tr. 數目) "number"
书 shū (tr. 書) "book" - 输 shū (tr. 輸) "to lose (a game)"
的 de possessive particle - 得 de particle indicating effect, degree, possibility, etc. of a verb - 地 de adverbial particle
要 yào "to want, will" - 药 yào (tr. 藥 or 葯) "medicine"
是 shì "to be" - 事 shì "matter, thing" - 试 shì (tr. 試) "to try"
在 zài "at, (progressive aspect marker)" - 再 zài "again"
叫 jiào "to call, to be called, to shout" - 教 jiào "to teach"
脚 jiǎo (tr. 腳) "foot" - 角 jiǎo "horn, corner"
使 shǐ "to make, to cause to be" - 屎 shǐ "excrement"
Thrice Xandvii wrote:I think you could simplify things by merely saying "Mandarin." Seems as though it has a level of homophones (even if you include tone) that rivals most any other language.
Well, that's only at the character level: most of the actual words are bi-syllabic compounds. What you're essentially giving is Classical Chinese words/characters with their modern Mandarin pronunciations. You could put all 53 characters pronounced yì in there if you wanted too. My point is: it doesn't tell you as much as you think about Mandarin Chinese, as these characters (mostly) don't occur on their own, because if they did the homophony would render the language unusable.

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by DesEsseintes » 13 Jun 2016 10:29

Frislander wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:Mandarin:
Spoiler:
树 shù (traditional: 樹) "tree" - 数 shù (tr. 數) "number"
树木 shùmù (tr. 樹木) "tree" - 数目 shùmù (tr. 數目) "number"
书 shū (tr. 書) "book" - 输 shū (tr. 輸) "to lose (a game)"
的 de possessive particle - 得 de particle indicating effect, degree, possibility, etc. of a verb - 地 de adverbial particle
要 yào "to want, will" - 药 yào (tr. 藥 or 葯) "medicine"
是 shì "to be" - 事 shì "matter, thing" - 试 shì (tr. 試) "to try"
在 zài "at, (progressive aspect marker)" - 再 zài "again"
叫 jiào "to call, to be called, to shout" - 教 jiào "to teach"
脚 jiǎo (tr. 腳) "foot" - 角 jiǎo "horn, corner"
使 shǐ "to make, to cause to be" - 屎 shǐ "excrement"
Well, that's only at the character level: most of the actual words are bi-syllabic compounds. What you're essentially giving is Classical Chinese words/characters with their modern Mandarin pronunciations. You could put all 53 characters pronounced yì in there if you wanted too. My point is: it doesn't tell you as much as you think about Mandarin Chinese, as these characters (mostly) don't occur on their own, because if they did the homophony would render the language unusable.
Frislander's statement is wrong. I've just been through the list, and the monosyllables GrandPiano listed are all frequently used independently as words in modern Mandarin*. However, context makes it clear in each case what is being referred to, and ambiguity seldom arises.

There is one mistake though. is pronounced jiāo when used as a monosyllabic verb, and is therefore not homophonic with 叫 jiào.

*(with the possible exception of as I would consider 有数 a compound and cannot think of other instances where it's used monosyllabically, but perhaps others can find a counterexample?)

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by Frislander » 13 Jun 2016 11:02

DesEsseintes wrote:Frislander's statement is wrong. I've just been through the list, and the monosyllables GrandPiano listed are all frequently used independently as words in modern Mandarin*. However, context makes it clear in each case what is being referred to, and ambiguity seldom arises.
Oh, sorry.

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by GrandPiano » 13 Jun 2016 13:19

DesEsseintes wrote:There is one mistake though. is pronounced jiāo when used as a monosyllabic verb, and is therefore not homophonic with 叫 jiào.
Whoops, you're right. Fortunately, it just so happens that 叫 has another homophone (较), so I've taken out 教 and replaced it with that.
DesEsseintes wrote:*(with the possible exception of as I would consider 有数 a compound and cannot think of other instances where it's used monosyllabically, but perhaps others can find a counterexample?)
LINE Dictionary has a few example sentences using 数 as a monosyllabic noun, such as 在1至10之间想一个数 and 这两个数的差是多少?. Maybe it's less common than I thought it was, though.

Frislander is right, though, in that most would-be monosyllabic homophones are resolved by using compound words; it just happens that not all of them necessarily are. In fact, some of the homophones I gave could be resolved by using usually somewhat less common compound words, such as 想要 xiǎngyào "to want to" or 将要 jiāngyào "will" for 要 yào "to want, will" and 医药 yīyào "medicine" or 药品 yàopǐn "medicine" for 药 yào "medicine". Most of the time, though, context or sentence structure does the work of disambiguation.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by DesEsseintes » 13 Jun 2016 13:35

GrandPiano wrote:
DesEsseintes wrote:*(with the possible exception of as I would consider 有数 a compound and cannot think of other instances where it's used monosyllabically, but perhaps others can find a counterexample?)
LINE Dictionary has a few example sentences using 数 as a monosyllabic noun, such as 在1至10之间想一个数 and 这两个数的差是多少?. Maybe it's less common than I thought it was, though.
This may be due to the fact that I live in Shanghai where the noun is almost always 数字, but I wouldn't be surprised if in other parts of China was used as a noun.

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by All4Ɇn » 22 Jun 2016 21:48

Another interesting one from French:

Foi- Faith
Foie- Liver
Fois- Time

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by GrandPiano » 22 Jun 2016 22:10

Spanish:

:esp: cómo "how" - como "like" - como "I eat"

"Como estos" could mean either "like these" or "I eat these" depending on the context.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by CMunk » 24 Jun 2016 13:29

Danish
:dan: sku' [sɡ̊u] v. Short form of skulle "should" or "had to"
:dan: s'gu [sɡ̊u] adv. A swear word, which is a contraction of så Gud "so (help me) God"

Sønderjysk
Image sovs [sɑws] n. "sauce" or "gravy"
Image saks [sɑws] n. "a pair of scissors"
Native: :dan: | Fluent: :uk: | Less than fluent: :deu:, :jpn:, :epo: | Beginner: Image, :fao:, :non:
Creating: :con:Jwar Nong, :con:Mhmmz

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Re: Weird homophones

Post by clawgrip » 25 Jun 2016 01:56

Thrice Xandvii wrote:I think you could simplify things by merely saying "Mandarin." Seems as though it has a level of homophones (even if you include tone) that rivals most any other language.
I think Japanese can give Mandarin a run for its money. Some examples (only ones with the same pitch accent, so true homophones):

雲 kumo "cloud", クモ kumo "spider"
話す hanasu "speak", 放す hanasu "let go (of)"
立つ tatsu "stand", 経つ tatsu "elapse; pass by"
行った itta "went", 言った itta "said" (though in fairness, "said" is colloquially yutta)
書きます、描きます kakimasu "write; draw", 掻きます kakimasu "scratch" (maybe related?), 欠きます kakimasu "lack"
髪 kami "hair (on head)", 紙 kami "paper"
校門 kōmon "school gate", 肛門 kōmon "anus"

These are just commonly encountered spoken words. You can really go crazy sometimes:

嗜好 shikō "preference", 思考 shikō "thought", 志向 shikō "orientation", 至高 shikō "superiority; supremacy", 歯垢 shikō "(dental) plaque", 試行 shikō "trial run", etc.

交渉 kōshō "negotiation", 高尚 kōshō "high; refined", 公証 kōshō "authentication", 考証 kōshō "historical research", 口承 kōshō "oral tradition", 鉱床 kōshō "ore deposit", 厚相 kōshō "Minister of Welfare", 哄笑 kōshō "loud laughter", 工廠 kōshō "arsenal", etc.

plenty more of these

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