A Chinese Joke中国笑话:Why the Airplane Won’t Crash into a Star?为什么飞机不会撞到星星呢?

Simplified Chinese:

学生问老师:老师,为什么飞机在天上飞,却从不会撞到星星呢?

老师回答:因为星星会闪。

Pinyin Romanization

Xué shēng wèn lǎo shī : lǎo shī , wèi shén me fēi jī zài tiān shàng fēi ,què cóng bú huì zhuàng dào xīng xing nē ?

lǎo shī huí dá: yīn wèi xīng xing huì shǎn.

English Translation

The student asks the teacher: Teacher, why the planes never run into the stars when flying in the sky?

The teacher answer: Beacuse the stars can dodge.

Explanation:

To get the joke, you need to know the double takes on the meanings of the word  shǎn.

In Chinese, 闪 can mean “a sudden flash of light.” It can also mean “to dodge” ( 闪避 shǎn bì , to dodge quickly).

Vocabulary

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 学生 學生 xuésheng student; schoolchild
2 wèn to ask
3 老师 老師 lǎo shī teacher; Classifiers:
4 为什么 為什麼 wèi shénme why?; for what reason?
5 飞机 飛機 fēi airplane; Classifiers:
6 zài (located) at; (to be) in; to exist; in the middle of doing sth; (indicating an action in progress)
7 天上 tiānshàng in the sky, celestial; heavenly
8 fēi to fly
9  卻 què old variant of ; but; yet; however; while; to go back; to decline; to retreat; nevertheless; even though
10 从不 從不 cóng never
11 huì can; to be possible; to be able to; will; to be likely to; to be sure to; to assemble; to meet; to gather; to see; union; group; association; Classifiers: )
12 zhuàng to hit; to strike; to meet by accident; to run into; to bump against; to bump into
13 dào to (a place); until (a time); up to; to go; to arrive; (verb complement denoting completion or result of an action)
14 星星 xīng xing star in the sky
15 ne particle indicating that a previously asked question is to be applied to the preceding word (“What about …?”, “And …?”); particle for inquiring about location (“Where is …?”); particle signaling a pause, to emphasize the preceding words and allow the listener time to take them on board (“ok?”, “are you with me?”);
16 回答 huí to reply; to answer; the answer; Classifiers:
17 因为 因為 yīn wèi because; owing to; on account of
18 shǎn to dodge; to duck out of the way; to beat it; shaken (by a fall); to sprain; to pull a muscle; lightning; spark; a flash; to flash (across one’s mind); to leave behind
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