Cover photo by Safa Bilal
There are only so many syllables and tones in the Mandarin language. This makes Mandarin rife with homophones—words that sound the same but with separate meanings. Mandarin homophones make for some interesting cultural beliefs and traditions. Here is a list of eight homophones you may not be familiar with.
1 蝠 (fú) vs. 福 (fú)
蝠 (fu), the Mandarin word for bat, is pronounced the same as 福 (fu), a word for good fortune or happiness. Thus the bat became a symbol for happiness, and bats are featured prominently in many ancient Chinese paintings as well as in modern artwork.