Something written with three different scripts (Chinese characters, zhuyin, and the roman alphabet) is very much the sort of thing that attracts my attention, as is a product that mixes scripts in its name. So this ad for a new product from Taiwan’s Pizza Hut definitely caught my eye, though it did not inspire me to actually taste the item being touted, which is a rice pizza. (Generally, I do not care for pizzas with Taiwanese characteristics, such as those with peas, corn, or squid. For that matter, I don’t even like pineapple on pizza.)
The name for this rice pizza, “?zza” (m?zza), is a portmanteau — using two different languages and two different scripts, no less. ? is the Chinese character for m?, which is used mainly in rice- and other grain-associated words. The second part of the word comes, of course, from “pizza.”
Let’s move on to the slogan:
?zza ????? ??fun
In romanization, this is
m?zza: ch?o h?ng m?iwèi — x?nxi?n fun
Here we have Chinese characters (?zza ???????fun), zhuyin (?zza ???????fun), and the Roman alphabet (?zza ???????fun). Three scripts in just one line! (Yes, yes, I know that a line in written Japanese will often have just as many scripts, if not more; but this is Mandarin.)
The zhuyin, ??, represent h?ng, a new slang word that, according to several people I have asked, has appeared within the last five years at most. It means “hot” in the sense of “extremely popular right now.”
Also, there’s a possibility that the English word “fun” is meant to echo the Mandarin fàn (? / ?/ “rice”). Such puns across languages are not uncommon here, especially in local Internet slang.
So, the whole slogan might be translated as “Rice pizza: the super-’hot’ delicious food — fresh, new fun.” Sorry, that’s not a very good translation; it works better in Mandarin.
I predict such portmanteaux and mixing will be increasingly common here in Taiwan, where code switching is a way of life for many people. “M?zza” could be the wave of the future — just not the culinary future, I hope.
source: Taiwan Pizza Hut menu page, accessed January 30, 2007