Chinese Riddles and Slang

Last Update: 2008-1-23 21:03:00; By chinatravelservice

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Riddles hung on Chinese Lantern
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Chinese Riddles

Riddles are a special form of Chinese folk literature, called metaphors in old times.

Guessing game is an activity which is popular with the public and can benefit people’s intelligence and entertain people. Riddles spread not only in written form, but also in speeches. Nearly every person can come out with several even dozens of riddles.

Generally, the riddles are subdivided into two types: lamp riddle and language riddle. The former is of written form and the latter verbal form. Many riddles can be either written or spoken.

Riddles (conundrum) are composed of a riddle and an answer to the riddle: the former is a question and the latter is the answer. It is generally considered that guessing riddles is very difficult. But as a matter of fact, to give a question shows more the talent of a person. Many good riddles are the results after being optimized.

Chinese Slang

Chinese slang is also called xiehouyu (or two-part allegorical saying). It is one of the language cultures spreading farthest and widest among the Chinese folk, which collects witty and humor into one and sometimes can make people smile an understanding smile after reading. The two-part allegorical saying has embodied a concentrated reflection of people's wisdom and ability.

The most outstanding characteristic is homophonic and metaphorical, such as "like a clay idol fording a river-hardly able to save oneself (let alone anyone else)", "using a rolling pin to blow a fire-totally impenetrable". All of them win universal praise.

Another property of xiehouyu is associative compound. It extends and prolongs its concept through association, like "the weasel goes to pay his respects to the hen- not with the best of intensions"

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