Further evidence of mixed script writing in Chinese

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Michael Cannings relayed this tweet by Dave Flynn:

The writing in the bottom right corner says:

yóuxì zhēn de HEN hǎowán 遊戲真的HEN好玩

"the game is really fun"

On the grammatical function of hěn 很 ("very") in such sentences:

We have had many posts on biscriptalism, multiscriptalism, and mixed script writing in diverse languages on Language Log.  Here are just a few for Chinese:


  1. cliff arroyo said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 6:01 am

    "yóuxì zhēn de hǎowán"

    Shouldn't that be

    "yóuxì zhēn de hěn hǎowán" ?

    (not sure about word breaks or if tonal sandhi applies)

  2. Victor Mair said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 6:27 am

    Thanks. Fixed now.

  3. David Marjanović said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 6:45 am

    Like katakana in Japan – for emphasis? After all, you can't SCREAM IN ALL-CAPS in Chinese characters.

  4. TK Mair said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 10:28 am

    Our 6 year old, Leo got one of these for Christmas. Hen haowan indeed. He loves Splatoon and Mario.

  5. Nuno said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 5:37 pm

    I think it's supposed to elicit a humorous /hɛn/ pronunciation as opposed to standard /hən/.

  6. John Rohsenow said,

    January 20, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

    OK, let's get serious here. Prof. YC LI, a native TW speaker, at Univ.
    Hawaii explains: "I think it started after youthful online chatting became a daily fad of communication, but I can't say which year. The motivation for writing HEN, I think, is because 很 is sometimes pronounced [by TW spkrs of Mdn] very close to English ‘hen’, female chicken.[So] HEN is not meant to just Romanize 很."
    In addition, " 很 is often replaced with 粉. Some of us [TW spkrs of Mdn] do have f/h confusion. That’s why they pronounce 很 hen like 粉 fen , and thus write 粉 fen to represent their true pronunciation. (For the same reason, they write 偶 to represent 我.)
    MY comment? Sounds like a lot of "fun" (糞) to me. JSR ;-)

  7. Victor Mair said,

    January 21, 2018 @ 7:30 am

    Jonathan Smith found this VERY interesting (HEN yǒuyìsi HEN有意思) website:

    "Taiwan Newest buzz words"


    Among the dozens of currently listed items, the eleventh one is the "hen" that we are investigating in this post (it's about one third of the way down the page).

    While you're perusing this page, notice how many of the items utilize English words, Latin letters, and numerals to express ideas in clever, creative ways.

    Jonathan also found a funny video where you can hear this Taiwan guoyu / Mandarin "hen" live:


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