February 23, 2010



February 22, 2010

I’m not sure what to call wordplay of this type. It’s not exactly an anagram, though the general idea is the same. Unlike an anagram, it doesn’t require that all the rearranged components be full letters, nor that they be arranged linearly. The components can be rotated and can be placed anywhere. (No overlapping allowed, though; that would be cheating.) The same concept can be seen in Nagfa’s One Swallow piece and (almost) in my own attempt at a Chinese anagram. In fact, come to think of it, “Chinese anagram” might be just the term I’m looking for. “Chinese” because it’s the closest thing you can get to an anagram in a non-alphabetic language like Chinese; because it’s basically a verbal version of the Chinese art of the tangram; and because there’s a long tradition in English of just randomly calling things (checkers, auctions, fire drills) Chinese. So, until someone proposes a better term, I hereby dub this art form the Chinese anagram.