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22 Dec 2016

Written Chinese consists of over 50,000 characters, and everyone of these character can individually convey a specific meaning, yet many of the characters are homophones - i.e. numerous characters correspond to the same sounding syllable (like how the word 'new' and 'knew' in English are phonetically identical). With that in mind, a three syllable English word can have hundreds or even thousands of permutations when it is being transliterated into Chinese. Unsurprisingly, many of these combinations can turn out to be less than flattery.

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