Recently I had a discussion with a friend about the "solidity" of the English language in respect to Chinese. (By "solidity" we meant the reduced possibility for interpretation errors and misunderstanding - for which the Chinese language is nutritious and can actually be considered one vast homonym.)
This conversation triggered a question in my mind about homonyms, and when I wanted to search examples for myself, I could only find one or two.
By homonym for this question I mean nouns which have the same pronunciation, exact same spelling, but totally different meanings, e.g.:
Flour - Flower
(different spelling, same pronunciation)
Desert - Dessert
(similar/different spelling, different pronunciation but accent dependent)
Wind (air movement, noun) - Wind (to coil, verb)
(same spelling, different pronunciation but one is a verb)
but more like:
BOW (weapon) - BOW (ribbon)
(I intentional exclude the verbs for the purpose of this question because they are influenced by the time tense, and it is easy for something to occur like "DOVE" (the bird) and "DOVE" (past of dive).)
So my questions are:
How many of these exist?
Please give me more examples (or point me to a comprehensive list if it exists - I could not find one for some reason).
What is the REASON for the existence of those homonyms, except the obvious reasons of foreign-language-imports and historical similarity in use ? (I know it is a difficult question, but still - I try :-) - feel free to ignore that part.)