If you use my beginning Greek grammar, you might not realize it, but by chapter 6 you have encountered two Greek palindromes, sophos ("wise") and alla ("but"). Palindrome is a Greek word meaning "running back again." It refers to a word or sentence that reads exactly the same forwards and backwards (as in sophos and alla). Here's a longer Greek example, attributed to the fourth century church father Gregory of Nazianzuz:
- "Nipson anomēmata mē monan opsin."
- "Wash my transgressions, not only my face."
Apparent, palindromes are literally in our genes. I've always enjoyed these examples:
- "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!"
- "Step on no pets."
- "Madam, I'm Adam." (Her name "Eve," of course, is also a palindrome.)
- "Too far, Edna, we wander afoot."
- "Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?"
- "So many dynamos!"
- "Tis in a potato pan I sit."
- "Was it a rat I saw?"
Here's one in German:
- "Nie grub Ramses Marburg ein."
- "Never did Ramses bury Marburg."
And in French, if you ask someone if they know a palindrome and they say, "non," they just used a palindrome. There's got to be a palindrome in Hawaiian but I haven't found it yet.
Finally, I leave you language geeks with a challenge to translate this Hebrew palindrome.