Okay, for the last couple of weeks I have been thinking really hard about what to write for April fools, but nothing came to mind. So instead of a prank post, I am gonna share something which is completely true, yet sounds like a hoax. Remember, this is real.
About a month ago I just started my last semester in BLCU, in which I am expected to write a graduation paper. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write something which is food related. I chose to compare the Chinese verb 吃 (chī – eat) with its Hebrew counterpart (אכל) and see how they differentiate linguistically and culturally. So the other day I went to Baidu (China’s Google, Wikipedia and Yahoo! combined) and type the verb 吃 in the search bar. Just like Google, Baidu search engine also tries to complete your search based on popular search queries.
Before I continued typing I decided to quickly read through the suggestions to see if there was anything interesting that might be useful for my paper. While it was (almost) totally irrelevant for my paper, the first suggestion really took my by surprise. 吃了精子会怎么样 is a question. It means ‘eating sperm could lead to what’. It came before ‘eating what is good for the kidneys’ and ‘eating what fruit makes you to lose weight the fastest’ which came second and third. In case you were wondering the suggestions are not alphabetized so I guess the order is based on popularity. The last suggestion by the way is also sperm related. It says ‘eating what is good for sperm’.
From an academic point of view this is quite interesting because in
Chinese standard Mandarin there are strict rules for when to use the verb ‘eat’ and when to use the verb ‘drink’. The verb eat is only used for actual solid food which requires chewing. Even soup and Porridge are not eaten but drunk in Chinese Mandarin.Therefore it could be argued that the verb ‘to drink’ is more appropriate linguistically speaking. Then again, in Chinese babies “eat breast milk” (吃奶) so maybe the rules are different for liquids with high levels of vitality…
By the way, I would have never noticed this if it wasn’t for this book I got recently. Best 7.5 yuan I ever spent.
Update, April 3rd 14:24: In case you were wondering what might be the cause for this, Anthony Tao from Beijing Cream did some further research.