Year 2-0-e-e

Here’s another pun for ya, in the context of the Shanghai 2022 Lockdown:


This one is pretty beginner-friendly!

20饿饿年 (èr-líng-è-è nián)

Key to this pun is that pinyin “e” sounds very much like pinyin “er” in many dialects of Mandarin, especially Taiwanese Mandarin. It doesn’t sound as similar in Beijing Mandarin, but the pun still works.

Fortunately, most of us are not actually starving during the Shanghai Lockdown, although some residents are certainly having a harder time than others. Although I’m currently on Lockdown Day 41 at home and can move freely around within my compound, many others in Shanghai are well past Day 50 and are totally stuck indoors, plus have to do daily testing (which I no longer have to do).

P.S. More advanced learners should be sure to check out the Advanced Readings in Chinese (ARC) special Shanghai Lockdown meme edition #1 and special Shanghai Lockdown meme edition #2. (If anyone wants a more thorough analysis of any of those memes here, let me know.)


John Pasden

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


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