Post posted post haste

Here’s a fragment I just bumped into in 《黄金时代》 (aka Wang in Love and Bondage — some details from Paper Republic):


Doesn’t sound like anything unusual if you read it aloud: “Xiàozhǎng zhǎngzhe chángcháng de…”, but the four 长s are kind of neat. And it makes you wonder what the record is for this kind of thing. I’d prefer to define it a bit conservatively, something like…

  • Take any 10 characters in a text
  • Disregard punctuation
  • Don’t allow contrived texts that are specifically designed to include lots of the same character. Just plain old writing.

What’s the greatest number of same characters (out of 10) out there? The one above is an easy 4/10, but I’m sure there’s better.

[If you think the title of this post is bad, you should have seen the one I trashed]

7 responses to “Post posted post haste”

  1. Kellen says:

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    Serious though, there’s got to be a quick ray to run this through Google books or Baidu and at the very least find some simple cases using wildcards.

    Somewhat off topic, when I’ve taught English in the past I always found students have troubles with this in English, for example “I have to have…” or better yet “He has to have had…”. At least Word parsing is a bit clearer in English.

  2. Brendan says:

    “Buffalo buffalo” is great, but my favorite — possibly because I never encountered “buffalo” as a verb before that sentence — is still “James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.”

    The way to go for something like this is probably to use a simplified character that has assimilated several traditional characters — “着” would be a pretty obvious choice, but I’m sure there’s something better that I’m just overlooking.

  3. Syz says:

    Sheesh, how did I ever forget about buffalo buffalo? The “had had” one I’d never come across. There’s no way I could have parsed either without Wikipedia.

    Back to our Chinese sentence: 着 might be a candidate, but the English examples have me thinking a better sentence would almost certainly have the target character used in a name, maybe even in a duplicated name?

  4. 4季季季健康,12月月月平安,52周周周精彩,365天天天快乐,8760时时时高兴,525600分分分开心,31536000秒秒秒幸福!新年快乐!

    I found this by googling ”时时时“ “天天天” “年年年”. I thought of doing that because I remember a similar kind of thing being used in a slogan that was posted on a hospital across from where I used to live in Jilin. They took the sign down years ago, but I’m sure it was there in 2003. (Joel M should might remember this sign as well if he’s reading.)

  5. “Buffalo buffalo” is easier parsed with capitalisation. “4季季季健康” is pretty cool too, and I’m sure to repeat it in the near future.

    “James while John had” is a bit deceptive, more so than Buffalo buffalo, as the semicolon is rather obligatory for being able to parse it properly. For those too lazy to look it up:

    James, while John had had “had”, had had “had had”; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

    Names would be good. I imagine something like 天 that contributes to so many other words would be good too if you don’t need it all in one go:
    - 天啊!天天天气, 天空, 阴天, 周天, 秋天, all while at 天坛.

  6. jdmartinsen says:

    Yes, Randy, the hospital in Jilin was what first came to mind, although I can’t remember exactly how it was phrased.

    I’ve seen a number of gimmicky 对联 duìlián that do this sort of thing (mostly in bad historical TV dramas), but they’re probably barred by condition #3. Here’s one purportedly used by a beansprout seller:


    It relies on character variants and multiple readings (alternately 常 and 涨); there’s also the similar but slightly more meaningful “海水朝朝朝朝朝朝朝落 下联是浮云长长长长长长长消”.

    Online discussions are remarkably unhelpful in pinning down precisely what the readings are.

  7. Syz says:


    Online discussions are remarkably unhelpful in pinning down precisely what the readings are.

    Does that mean you can’t parse them? I’m having complete parse fail here…

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