Evil, all...its still...alive!
A, he eyesore, ha!

These are palindromes made up during a church service by the priest's adolescent (and wonderfully twisted) daughter.
Do I leave them alone and use a footnote or do I render them with the likes of:
Σος ειμί, τίμιε σος.
Σοφά ται και μη, γη μια και ταφος.


Staff member
Θα παραθέσω πρώτα ένα απόσπασμα από αυτό το άρθρο της Wikipedia για τη μη μεταφρασιμότητα (σκοπεύω να ανεβάσω μεγάλο μέρος του άρθρου στις σελίδες μας):

Other forms of wordplay, such as spoonerisms and palindromes are equally difficult, and often force hard choices on the translator. For example, take the classic palindrome: 'A man, a plan, a canal: Panama'. A translator might choose to translate it literally into, say, French — 'Un homme, un projet, un canal: Panama', if it were used as a caption for a photo of Theodore Roosevelt (the chief instigator of the Canal), and sacrifice the palindrome. But if the text is meant to give an example of a palindrome, he might elect to sacrifice the literal sense and substitute a French palindrome, such as 'Un roc lamina l'animal cornu' ('A boulder swept away the horned animal').

Douglas Hofstadter discusses the problem of translating a palindrome into Chinese, where such wordplay is theoretically impossible, in his book Le Ton beau de Marot — which is devoted to the issues and problems of translation, with particular emphasis on the translation of poetry.​

Παραθέτω (my OCR) το συγκεκριμένο απολαυστικό κομμάτι από το Le Ton beau de Marot του Douglas Hofstadter (γνωστού για το Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid). Ο σύνδεσμος στο κείμενο είναι, φυσικά, δική μου προσθήκη και παραπέμπει στον καρκινικό διάλογο από το Gödel, Escher, Bach ενώ το βιντεάκι στο τέλος στον Καρκινικό κανόνα του Μπαχ.

A Man, a Plan, a Canon, a Palindrome, a Translation — China!

Only days after David landed in Beijing, Professor Wu took off for the United States. He flew into Detroit, and to distinguish myself in the crowd at the gate, I carried a sign saying “Wu Yunzeng! — Welcome!” in Chinese characters I’d penned. We had no trouble recognizing each other, in fact, and drove back to my house in Ann Arbor, where, with Carol and Melanie Mitchell, we had an Italian dinner that he enjoyed immensely, pasta being among his favorite foods since he had lost most of his teeth. On finding out that both Melanie and I knew some Chinese, Professor Wu asked us a couple of questions in Chinese, but neither of us did a very good job in answering, From then on, conversation was strictly in English!

We were all curious how it was that Professor Wu spoke quite good, although strongly accented, English. He explained that as a young child, he had gone to a school in which all classes were conducted in English. He had even been given an English first name —“Andrew”— which he urged us to use, but somehow it never felt natural to us to think of him as “Andrew”, so he remained “Professor Wu” to us all.

The most memorable parts of Professor Wu’s visit were the lively discussions that took place about translation, a topic in which he obviously had been keenly interested for decades. I could tell that although he was a genuine fan of my book, he did not know it intimately and could use a crash course on some of its trickier passages. To this end, I devised a little plan: Bob French, who Professor Wu knew had been involved in the French translation, would join us for dinner, and the three of us would discuss the dialogue called “Crab Canon”, strictly modeled on a piece for two violins by J. S. Bach. Bach’s Crab Canon[/URL] (a tiny part of his Musical Offering) has the property that, when played backwards, it sounds just the same as forwards except that the two instruments or “voices” have been interchanged. Pieces of music with this property have traditionally been called “crab canons” because crabs allegedly walk backwards (actually, they walk more sideways than backwards, but the name has stuck nonetheless).

For dinner, we went out to —of course— an Italian restaurant, where our discussion took off very nicely. No sooner had I described the concept of a crab canon than Professor Wu drew a connection between such a musical piece and a palindrome — a sentence that reads the same backwards and forwards, To be sure, there is a strong resemblance, though a palindrome has only one “voice”, hence there is no counterpart to the interchange of voices when it goes backwards. He jotted down for us a famous five-character classical Chinese palindrome, Yè luò tiān luò yè, which can be literally translated as “At leaves-fall season, fall the leaves.” To tell the truth, with its tautological content, it was not particularly impressive, but at least it served to launch us into the idea of translating palindromes, a challenge clearly fraught with thorns and prickers. To explore this specific case, we wrote down an English gloss for each of its five characters:

leaves fall season fall leaves​

and then noticed something striking: “fall” has two unrelated meanings (“autumn” as well as “tumble”), as does “leaves” (“foliage” and “departs”). Taking advantage of this, Bob and I quickly assembled a lovely reversible sentence in perfect English and making perfect sense:

Fall leaves as soon as leaves fall.​

(“Autumn departs just moments after foliage has tumbled.”) Not only did this semantically echo the original Chinese palindrome, it also outshone its progenitor in surprise value and elegance. We agreed that this was a most fortuitous discovery, delightful but atypical.

Turning the tables around, either Bob or I (my memory blurs) asked Professor Wu how one might try to translate into Chinese the most famous and, in my opinion, the most spectacular of English palindromes:

A man, a plan, a canal — Panama!​

We wrote it down for him, but it was with a look of utter bafflement that he stared at it. After we had our own moment of bafflement, Bob and I quickly realized what was the matter: Professor Wu did not see this as a palindrome! Guided by what we had together done with the “fall leaves” palindrome, he was reading this one backwards word by word, and when it was inverted that way, it came out “Panama! — canal a, plan a, man A”. Obviously that isn’t the original phrase — it isn’t even grammatical English!

We explained that in this case, you have to read the phrase backwards at the letter level: only then do you get it back again (ignoring punctuation, spaces, and capitalization). It was not hard to see why someone accustomed to reading Chinese characters, which represent whole morphemes, would naturally be inclined to reverse a sentence at the word level instead of at the letter level — we had simply forgotten a fundamental difference between Chinese and English.

This little confusion resolved, we all agreed it would be most unlikely that anyone could construct a Chinese palindrome with the same content as this English classic. However, I suggested that as the most salient aspect of this utterance is not its content but its symmetric form, any outstanding Chinese palindrome, whatever topic it might have, would serve, in some abstract sense, as a “faithful translation”. Although that proposal seemed a bit extreme to Professor Wu, there was universal agreement among us that if a translator converted this remarkable, reversible English phrase about the engineer who conceived the Panama Canal into a run-of-the-mill, nonreversible Chinese phrase saying something like “A person, a notion, a sluice — Panama!”, the act would be an utter travesty. The metaphor that then popped out of my mouth as I idly gazed at the bubbles in my soft drink I’ve always remembered: “As flat as a Coke that’s lost all its fizz.”

Bach's Crab Canon
Ευχαριστώ, διεξοδικέ Ν. Η παλινδρομήστριά μου έχει μια ιδιαιτερότητα στον εγκέφαλο (βλάβη, για την ακρίβεια), το μισό κορμί της είναι παράλυτο κλπ, και η ευχέρειά της με τα παλίνδρομα είναι συμφυής με την όλη της προσωπικότητα - π.χ. αφού διαβάσει ένα βιβλίο, το ξαναδιαβάζει από το τέλος προς την αρχή. ("Αρχή την προς τέλος το από ξαναδιαβάζει το βιβλίο ένα.") Άρα, τα παλίνδρομα μένουν, αλλά σε ποια γλώσσα; Κι ούτε, βέβαια, τίθεται θέμα να κατασκευάσω εγώ αντίστοιχα. Εκείνο που καλούμαι ν' αποφασίσω είναι αν θα χρησιμοποιήσω κάποια από τα ήδη υπάρχοντα στα Ελληνικά ή τα δικά της, μεταφρασμένα σε υποσημείωση. Στο κάτω κάτω, σκέφτομαι, δεν χρειάζεται να είναι κάποιος γνώστης της Αγγλικής για ν' αναγνωρίσει ένα παλίνδρομο μορφολογικά...


Staff member
Εδώ πάει που λένε «Εσύ θα με κάνεις να βγάλω τον καρκίνο». :D

Επειδή και στα αγγλικά τα καρκινικά που λέει η παλινδρομήστριά σου δεν θα έχουν ιδιαίτερη σχέση με γεγονότα και περιστάσεις, προφανώς καλύπτεσαι από αναγνωρίσιμα ελληνικά αντίστοιχα, όπως αυτά εδώ.

Αν εξαντληθεί το συγκεκριμένο απόθεμα, θα βάλουμε τον Zazula να μας φτιάξει μερικά, που τα έχει πρόχειρα αυτά.


Staff member
Να πούμε βέβαια ότι το ψηφιακό τερατούργημα δεν πιάνει μία μπροστά στο κομψοτέχνημα του Περέκ. Είναι σαν ένα σταλινικό μνημείο δίπλα σ' ένα αβγό Φαμπερζέ (το σχόλιο δεν έχει πολιτικές διαστάσεις).


Staff member
Με την αφορμή των γενεθλίων του Ντίλαν σήμερα, το δαιμόνιό μου με τουμπάρισε με τα πολλά να ποστάρω, στον αντίποδα εκείνου, μια διασκευή του Subterranean Homesick Blues που όμως πάσχει από στιχουργική παλινδρόμηση, από τον Weird Al Yankovic.

Τι άλλο περιμένατε από έναν δαεμάνιο λεξιλογολιξελ;

I, man, am regal - a German am I
Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi
Madam, I'm Adam
Too hot to hoot
No lemons, no melon
Too bad I hid a boot
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

Rise to vote, sir
Do geese see god?
"Do nine men interpret?" "Nine men," I nod
Rats live on no evil star
Won't lovers revolt now?
Race fast, safe car
Pa's a sap
Ma is as selfless as I am
May a moody baby doom a yam?

Ah, Satan sees Natasha
No devil lived on
Lonely Tylenol
Not a banana baton
No "x" in "Nixon"
O, stone, be not so
O Geronimo, no minor ego
"Naomi," I moan
"A Toyota's a Toyota"
A dog, a panic in a pagoda

Oh no! Don Ho!
Nurse, I spy gypsies - run!
Senile felines
Now I see bees I won
UFO tofu
We panic in a pew
Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo
God! A red nugget! A fat egg under a dog!
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog
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Staff member
Μαρίνο, μωρέ μπράβο μας! Διπλή ανάσταση νήματος μετά από τρία χρόνια. :)


Staff member

Ένα από τα γνωστά παλίνδρομα στην αγγλική γλώσσα είναι το ποίημα Doppelganger του James A. Lindon, που αν διαβαστεί αντίστροφα ανά στίχο (όχι ανά γράμμα, όπως οι καρκινικές επιγραφές), προκύπτει το ίδιο κείμενο:


Entering the lonely house with my wife
I saw him for the first time
Peering furtively from behind a bush --
Blackness that moved,
A shape amid the shadows,
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Put him to flight forever --
I dared not
(For reasons that I failed to understand),
Though I knew I should act at once.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.
He came, and I saw him crouching
Night after night.
Night after night
He came, and I saw him crouching,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone --
Though I knew I should act at once,
For reasons that I failed to understand
I dared not
Put him to flight forever.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
A shape amid the shadows,
Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,
I saw him for the first time,
Entering the lonely house with my wife.

Περισσότερα εδώ.


Staff member
ΕΜΑΣΗΣΑΜΕ : Διαβάζεται και από την δεξιάν και από την αριστεράν


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Λολ! Έλα ρε, πού το βρήκες αυτό; Κάνω αναζήτηση και δεν μπορώ να το εντοπίσω.