Chinese Hip Hop Riddle

09 Aug 2006

Micah sent me a link to this great riddle:

> 猜一个中文字:
(Guess the Chinese character:)

> “一个人在树上唱hip-hop”
(“a person in (on) a tree singing hip hop”)

> 什么字?
(What’s the character?)

I think the riddle is “great” because I doubt many Chinese people could get it, and this helps even the score just a tiny bit. (Not that I guessed it, though…)



> Why sang (mulberry), you ask? Well, the “person” is sitting on the tree (木) and “singing” hip-hop. How do you “sing” hip-hop? Read the top part as three separate characters: 又又又, or, “Yo, yo, yo”

Brilliant. Visit the author’s site.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. hahahah!!! this is highly amusing!!!

  2. I love it when so called western humor trickles into Chinese, its good for them!

  3. guess another chinese character – ten suns and ten moons together

  4. Bingfeng,


  5. correct.

    another one. this game is my favorite when i dine out with friends, it help us pass the time before the dishes come and usually it brings happy surprises to guests.

    here it is:

    how do you use four chopsticks to form a chinese character “田”. breaking a chopstick into two parts is not allowed.

  6. Bingfeng,

    I won’t answer your second one because I’ve heard it before.

    I guess maybe the answer is an example of Chinese people “thinking outside the box,” but I can’t really accept the answer.

    Here’s a riddle for you: what character has 山 in it four times?

  7. 崛?

  8. could be “田”

  9. Bingfeng,

    Yup, your second answer is the one.

  10. hi, bingfeng
    what’s the answer to the second riddle? I am stupid enough…

  11. Marco,

    You mean this riddle, right?

    how do you use four chopsticks to form a chinese character “田”. breaking a chopstick into two parts is not allowed.

    First, the chopsticks have to have relatively square ends (and when I say “ends” I mean NOT the “tips,” which are used for picking up food). You hold the four chopsticks closely together so that the ends are flush. If you look at the ends, it sort of looks like a 田 character.

    The riddle doesn’t really work, in my opinion. There’s no enclosing box like in 田. It’s just four boxes.

  12. sometimes i opine it is sophism,
    if dont know the answer before ,i will never think about that way .
    of course ,maybe i am stupid enough as Marco……

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