When I was writing about my love of eggcorns (misheard words or phrases that still somehow make sense), I wondered how often they happen in foreign languages, especially for learners. I got a bit of an answer recently.
One of my favourite things to order here in Asia is what is usually translated to a fruit ‘smoothie’. It’s not exactly what a western smoothie would be, and they’re usually made of fresh fruit blended with ice and sugar syrup. Almost any fruit smoothie makes a delicious frozen snack or dessert.
For a while, I had only heard other people order them, and never seen it written down. What I heard was bīngchá (冰茶), which means ice(d) tea. I was a little bit confused, as iced tea is something completely different, but it kind of made sense. Eventually I saw a menu, which showed 冰沙, instead, so I looked up the second character (shā). The word for smoothie is bīngshā, or shābīng, meaning ice(d) sand or sand ice.
It makes much more sense to me now, and I created my very own eggcorn. Has this happened to anyone else?