空耳 Soramimi/ 空耳歌词 Soramimi kasha
bodaweiDecember 01, 2009, 02:25 PM posted in General Discussion
Does anyone know any Chinese/English soramimi? That is, interpreting English song lyrics as similar sounding lyrics in Chinese. It's a word play based on homophones.
Eg. The Beatles transliterate as 鼻头屎 bítóushǐ (鼻头屎是鼻涕的意思）- I'm pretty sure my first Chinese teacher told me this
Eg. 'Thank you' might sound to a Chinese speaker like 三克油 sānkèyóu so if they look blankly at you they might think that you said 'three grams of oil')
I'd like any jokes explained unless it is kind of obvious. :-)
bababardwanDecember 04, 2009, 10:27 AM
Great post mate.I'm late to catch up with this one but it's a bewdy.I love the concept of these sora mimis.Kind of like a bilingual version of weird al.
"whoatto ta-i-mu izu itto nao?" Ouch.
..both interesting and really funny. :)
Talking about Mondegreens ,it would be funny to hear poddie examples of this;what they thought was being said in Chinese ,whether or not the mystery was solved.
bodaweiDecember 01, 2009, 03:01 PM
I put that mistake in just to draw you in! :-) Well, not really, but I was hoping that you or Changye would have some up your collective respective sleeves. Yeah, I realise that it is a Japanese 'art form' - just wondered what there is in Chinese. I found one only on the Internet and it is pretty weak. I'm wondering if this is something that is just not very funny to Chinese (cf. our conversation elsewhere about not getting irony.) They do have puns of course (they would have to with so many homophones), but this bilingual word play may be a different kettle of fish?
haha, that's not too bad. would 披 translate better as 'lank'? Either way it is clever. Thanks.
zhenlijiangDecember 01, 2009, 04:18 PM
Well let's see, if anybody else weighs in with Chinese goodies (whether my Chinese above is good/understood notwithstanding)!
The reason we Japanese think this stuff is so funny may have to do with our serious inability to pronounce and hear foreign languages "well", English in particular being our nemesis. So much so that our own ear fascinates and amuses us.
A well-known Japanese one, not from any song lyrics, is used to explain (half-seriously) to Japanese how they ought to be pronouncing "What time is it now?".
We're told to say 掘った芋いじるな！ Hotta imo iji-runa! which means Don't mess with the potatoes we dug up! And that supposedly brings the average Japanese closer to native sounds than if they tried to read from the English, with our rules of adding vowels at the end of all consonants (sorry I know there's a linguistic term for this that I don't remember) which results in "whoatto ta-i-mu izu itto nao?" Ouch.
bodaweiDecember 02, 2009, 09:38 AM
Thanks for your input above - the Chinese seems fine to me, but that is probably a 'kiss of death' coming from me!
I did post one of these sora-mimi (I'm learning) at the end of Oct and didn't get any response ..
'Good Morning, Teacher!' becomes 杜得马驴，踢球。 dù de mǎ lú, tī qiú (Stop the donkey! Kick the ball!) I regret spelling it out in detail but it took me a while to catch on, and others may agree. dù de = Good; mǎ lú = morning; tī qiú = Teacher. You also have to imagine a thick country Yunnan accent.
The Chinese guy who told me this was in stitches - I guess one problem is that spoken humour is so culture specific.
BTW - I think this indicates that the Chinese must have just as much of a challenge as the Japanese in listening to English! 'Good morning' becomes 'dù de mǎ lú' only with a stretch of the imagination.
There is another couple of sora-mimi like this around 'Good Morning':
1. A foreigner stays with a Chinese family and in the morning he is discovered playing with the family cat. The Chinese say 鼓捣猫呢 gǔdǎo māo ne (are you playing with the cat?) The foreigner replies 'Good morning to you too'. [This is actually a an 'English' sora-mimi - the English speaker mis-hears the Chinese, rather than the Chinese speaker mis-hearing the English.]
2. Chinese people might hear 'Good morning' and think that the person said 狗头猫拧 gǒutóu māoníng (what that means exactly I'm not sure but apparently it is funny!) Maybe the Chinese like absurdist humour!
changyeDecember 02, 2009, 01:41 PM
Chinese 空耳 is more "comprehensive" than Japanese one. In Japanese 空耳, only a short phrase in a lyric is "translated" (or transliterated?) into Japanese, but in Chinese 空耳, all the words of a song are "translated" into Chinese. Here is an example (Korean into Chinese).
Girls' Generation (少女时代，SNSD) Gee 爆笑中文版
You can find the same video at Youtube with keyword "中文空耳".
P/S. I think Japanese 空耳 is much funnier than Chinese one, at least you can say Japanese 空耳 is more "effective" because it's short and has a punch line.
bodaweiDecember 02, 2009, 04:14 PM
Thanks for that, interesting that they do it for whole songs. For 空耳 to be meaningful/funny you need to understand both languages - do you? Then you need to understand what is funny in at least one of the languages.
They sound like they are singing in Chinese, fair enough. To be 空耳 the sounds must be like the original Korean (homophones). Do you know if they are singing words with different meaning to the original Korean? (Which would potentially make it funny.) Is that it? In which case you would need to be familiar with the original song for it to be funny. Unfortunately I don't know the song, nor do I know any Korean apart from bibembap.. :-) To me it sounds like an unfamiliar song in Chinese.
But I notice that it said it is 空耳 ..
zhenlijiangDecember 02, 2009, 05:22 PM
Bodawei (kiss of death! haha) I think you need to have at least basic vocab in the spoken language, the one you choose to enjoy mishearing. That's why English to Japanese works so well for us. Though most of us will never have a command of the kind of language used in pop and rock song lyrics, we've studied enough English in school, know enough to get the idea.
Song lyric sora-mimi that we see on the long-running TV show Tamori Club are also funny because they make little videos showing how absurd the misheard is (once you see the punchline, the lead-in to it is all the more ridiculous and funnier), with the original lyrics helpfully written out.
You can also have sora-mimi within a single language (the one you're fluent in) too of course.
changyeDecember 03, 2009, 03:07 AM
Here is a typical Japanese sora-mimi (空耳) work. The short Japanese subtitle means "Let me hold your xxxx". I can't catch the English part, but it really sounds just like Japanese to my ears.
zhenlijiangDecember 01, 2009, 02:45 PM
Hi Bodawei, as long as you're introducing "sora-mimi" which is Japanese, pls just allow me to say we pronounce 歌詞 as kashi.
I've heard quite a few hilarious ones (heavy metal bands with their delivery seem to provide a disproportionate amount of fodder) "misheard into Japanese", none of which I can recall now to share.
And I know of none with Chinese, sorry.
changyeDecember 04, 2009, 12:34 AM
Do you know if they are singing words with different meaning to the original Korean?
Completely different, of course. And you don't need to know what original song lyrics are saying for enjoying sora-mimi. In other words, you can make sora-mimi works using any language in the world, even with Klingon!
RJDecember 04, 2009, 02:11 AM
the english words you cant catch in the song are:
it is pronounced marching too-wards. Does this make sense?
changyeDecember 04, 2009, 02:23 AM
The part "marching too-wards fiery landscape" actually sounds like "o-chin-chin-wo ni-gi-ra-shi-te" (or something like that) to my ears, which means "let me hold your xxxx" in Japanese. Poor listening comprehension is not necessarily a bad thing, hehe. Thanks.
P/S. But it's also true that the Japanese subtitle leads me to think so. Without subtitles, these sora-mimi works are not so easy to understand, even if they are accompanied by videos.
bodaweiDecember 04, 2009, 02:41 AM
A mono-lingual 'sora-mimi' is called a Mondegreen in English. Essentially this just means mishearing the lyrics of a song (or something on TV etc.) but it has to be funny and popular to qualify as a Mondegreen. We have TV and radio shows in Australia that have fun with Mondegreens.
There is a lot of scope in Chinese for Mondegreens because of the large number of homophones.
What I find interesting here is learning what the Chinese find funny - with humour there is a real culture gap between China and Australia.
RJDecember 04, 2009, 02:52 AM
never heard the term mondegreen. English? You mean Australian. Anyway I agree there should be plenty of them in Chinese.
bodaweiDecember 04, 2009, 02:58 AM
No, I mean English. It doesn't have an Australian origin - in fact a popular radio show in Australia calls them 'mountaintops' but I did not want to confuse the poddie population with Australianisms!
That's curious that you don't have the term Mondegreen in the US - they must be called something else?
RJDecember 04, 2009, 10:01 AM
I guess you are right, wikipedia explains:
The American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term mondegreen in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen," which was published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954. In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad "The Bonnie Earl O' Murray." She wrote:
- When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
- Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands, Oh, where hae ye been? They hae slain the Earl Amurray, And Lady Mondegreen.
The actual fourth line is "And laid him on the green". As Wright explained the need for a new term, "The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original".
I have never heard the term. As far as I know we dont have another word for this although everyone has lyrics they have mis-interpreted for years only one day to be disappointed by what they really are.
live and learn.
changyeDecember 03, 2009, 03:13 AM
Chinese "馄饨" (hun2 tun) is translated as "わんたん" (wan-tan) in Japanese. So some Japanese people mistakenly use the Japanese word when speaking in Chinese, which causes a funny misunderstanding. To Chinese ears, "wan-tan" just sounds like "完蛋" (wan2 dan4).
oranginaDecember 01, 2009, 02:44 PM
The "Meet the Beatles" album cover I saved from someone else's post a while ago has the Beatles as 披头四 pītóusì loosly translated "messy hair four." I wonder how many other versions there are out there.