[Lingtyp] Non-compositional words for “rock-paper-scissors"

tangzhengda tangzhengda at 126.com
Tue May 3 03:19:37 UTC 2022

Hi Ian,

     It is astonishing that so simple a game is so popular accross times and spaces!  It may partly be attributed to the perfect balance of POWER between the extremely hard (rock), sharp (cissors) and the extremely tender (paper), relating to the age-old philosophy like 'circular check (相克)’. This also reminds us of the FIVE elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth) for which no one could win or lose for ever.
      In some of Chinese dialects the RPS games has the variations such, 'rock-scissors-cloth' (石头-剪刀-布,2-2-1 is prosodically agreeable to Chinese), or 'tiger-stick-chick-worm' (棒打老虎鸡吃虫). In most of the dialects, the game is phonated by three mono-syllabic ideophonic words (Beijing: tsai, ting, ke; Xi'an: Tsai, tong, chi; NE: Ting, gang, chui; etc.) when playing with respective gestures symbolising the three.
      This game is recorded in a book in Ming dynasty that it was practiced as early as in Han dynasty, although it is believed to originate in Japan (e.g. jeu Japonais).

Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
No.5 Jianguomennei Dajie, Beijing, China; 100732

At 2022-05-02 22:29:42, "JOO, Ian [Student]" <ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk> wrote:

Dear all,

I’m making a list of non-compositional words for the rock-paper-scissors game or similar games.
In other words, I’m looking for words for “rock-paper-scissors” that do not consist of words for “rock”, “paper”, and “scissors”, or any other meanings, such as German Schnick Schanck Schnuck, Thai bpao ying choop, etc.
I would much appreciate it if you could share with me any words for this game or its kind that do not consist of meaningful words.

From Korea,


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