A bilingual pun is a pun created by a word or phrase in one language sounding similar to a different word or phrase in another language. Bilingual puns are often created by mixing languages, and represent a form of macaronic language.
A general technique in bilingual punning is homophonic translation, which consists of translating a passage from the source language into a homophonic (but likely nonsensical) passage in the target language. This requires the audience to understand both the surface, nonsensical translation as well as the source text – the former then sounds like the latter spoken in a foreign accent.
- Un petit d'un petit / S'étonne aux Halles
The original English text reads:
- Humpty Dumpty / Sat on a wall.
while the translation, which imitates the sound of someone reading the English text with a French accent, literally means:
- Go back to An-fang, the Peace Square at An-fang, the Beginning Place at An-fang, where all things start. Bright it was. Red Square, dead square, clear square, under a yellow sun.
In Chinese, An-fang can mean "Peace Square", while Anfang is the German word for "beginning."
In the documentary Gaijin, a Brazilian Odyssey directed by Tizuka Yamasaki, newly immigratated Japanese agricultural laborers struggle to adapt to Brazilian culture. At mealtime, the Brazilian cook serves up a stew of feijoada to Japanese more used to rice:
- Japanese: Kome! (Kome (米?), Japanese for rice)
- Cook: Come! (Portuguese for Eat!)
Pierre Clouthier, Moncton NB, 1968; in Spanish class.
- English: An apple a day keeps the doctor away
- Spanish/Latin: Manzana (mens sana) in corpore sano (Manzana is apple in Spanish; mens sana is a healthy mind)
- Hu's on First
- van Rooten, Luis d'Antin (1980). Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames. ISBN 978-0-14-005730-0, originally published London, Angus and Robertson, 1967.
- "Luis d'Antin van Rooten's Humpty Dumpty". The Guardian. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- Smith, Cordwainer (1993). The Rediscovery of Man. Framingham, MA: The NESFA Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-915368-56-0.
- Yamasaki, Tizuka (1980). "Gaijin, a Brazilian Odyssey". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-09-26.