A homophone or homophone ( ancient Greek ὁμόφωνος (-ον) homóphōnos (-on) "identical, coherent") is a word that has the same pronunciation as another with different meanings. The term is defined differently, so sometimes words with different genera are included, such as B. "the head" (device) and "the head" (function). With the same spelling, they are also homographs . According to Alfred Raab, words with the same spelling do not count as homophones.
Like paronyms , homophones can lead to confusion. But that rarely happens. The meaning of the homophones results in the oral language from the context. In the written language, they can be distinguished by different spellings.
Homophones are quite common in today's standard German . It should be noted, however, that words in certain regions can be homophonic that are not in the High German stage language according to Theodor Siebs . For example, the long vowels ä ( [ɛ:] ) and e ( [e:] ) are differentiated according to Siebs, but often not regionally, so that, for example, Ähre and Ehre become homophonic.
In English there are many words that are pronounced the same but have completely different meanings. The number of possible homophones in English is increased by the fact that the worldwide spread of the English language has developed numerous varieties or mixed with other languages.
In tonal languages, in which words are distinctive based on a tone , homophony is also defined by tone. In the Chinese languages, e.g. B., the words / characters whose pronunciation are identical for initial, final and tone are homophones. The words / signs from the same syllable but with a different tone are only counted as homophones in a few cases, e.g. B. in information processing. Phonetic evolution and vocabulary expansion are increasing the number of homophones in the Chinese languages. The probability of homophony is particularly high in standard Chinese .
The poem lion-eating poet in the stone cave by Zhao Yuanren , which consists only of the phonetic syllable "shi" and only varies in tone, is only understandable even for the Chinese based on the characters. In other, syllable-rich dialects of Chinese, the poem is then acoustically understandable again. Of the Chinese dialects, Cantonese deserves special mention, as it has preserved old readings particularly well.
Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shi shi, shi Shi Shi shi shi.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shi shi shi shi.
The story of Shi, the lion eats
stone cave poet Shi, addicted to lions, swears to eat ten lions.
He often goes to the market to see lions.
At ten o'clock ten lions are just passing the market.
At this time, Shi is also just passing the market.
He sees the ten lions, with his arrows he sends the ten lions to death.
He brings the ten lion corpses to the stone cave.
The stone cave is damp. He orders his servant to dry them off.
After the stone cave has been dried off, he tries to eat the ten lions.
While eating, he notices that these ten lions are actually ten stone lion corpses .
Try to explain this.
Japanese and Korean
Examples of homophones in Korean . Above the pronunciation in Hangeul letters, including nine homophones, pronounced sudo , which are written with the same Hangeul characters and can only be distinguished by the different Chinese Hanja characters , which are also used in Korean.
Unlike the Chinese languages, neither Japanese nor Korean is a tonal language . Since many Chinese terms in the Japanese and Korean languages were adopted along with the writing (compare On reading in Japanese), the lack of tones and the relative simplicity of the syllables in both languages lead to a high number of homophones.
Children are introduced to homophones in a game called Teekesselchen in German-speaking countries and Teapot in English .