Thursday, March 7, 2013

Backwards and Forwards

So when I found this link, I realized there's not only a contest to decide the top palindrome of the year, there's also an online magazine for palindrome lovers called Palindromist.

Palindromes, you may remember from English class, are sentences that are spelled the same backwards and forwards. Even though the words are different and the spaces are not in the same place, the letters are in the same order, only reversed. The article at the link uses the famous palindrome supposed to be the greeting Eve received upon her arrival in the Garden of Eden and her introduction to her husband, who said to her, "Madam, I'm Adam." Another was used to describe the construction of the Panama Canal: "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama."

A tough part of making a palindrome is having it make sense. If you want it to be understandable, if somewhat artificially constructed, English, you are more limited in your choices. The contest is awarding prizes for short and long palndromes, as well as one for poetic palindromes. They will also offer a prize (specifically, a pencil with a palindrome on it) for the best word-for-word substitution palindrome. In these, the letters aren't reversible, but the words are. Say them backwards and they will sound just the same.

In case you've been looking to see if I slipped a palindrome into this post, I assure you I skipped the opportunity. It's kind of a sleepy afternoon and my brain wasn't into that mode.

1 comment:

CGHill said...

Judging by the Programming & Design section of Yahoo! Answers, rather a lot of beginning students are being asked to construct palindromes, presumably for string-handling purposes.

And no one lately has done more for the palindrome than "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose song "Bob," apart from being a spiffy "Subterranean Homesick Blues" sendup, contains more palindromes than you're likely to encounter in a decade.