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Do Chinese Palindromes Exist?


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Yes, but they are mostly phrases or entire poems called 回文, 迴文 or 回环诗. 老子Laozi is famous for his palindromes in his 道德经Dao De Jing.

知者不言,言者不知。 --老子










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Does the language in that poem quoted by shibo77 actually follow chinese grammar? I realize it's not written in modern mandarin, and classical chinese was a completely different kettle of fish. I cannot really understand anything in that poem, save for each character individually, and this could be a result of my complete ignorance of classical chinese. But the feeling I get is that the poem just consists of a string of notional characters meant to evoke a picture in the reader's mind, whilst not actually constituting complete sentences. If this is the case, then without the constraints of complete or grammatical sentences, surely it would be easy (for a native speaker) to write such a 'palindromic' poem, the authenticity of which as a genuine palindrome is doubtful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear anonymoose, I think this poem by Sushi is an exceptional job and can be considered a genuine palindrome.

In fact, these characters do construct reasonable sentences, probably without any verb.

For example...


The tide follows the hidden waves, the snow mount bends.

The fish boat near the far island is "fishing" the bright moon.

And its reversed version:


The bright moon hooks the boat, the fishing island is far,

The snow tide coming from the mount follows the tide in secret.

Ancient Chinese poems often illustrate pictures in order to express the feelings of the poets. And I assure you that a native speaker like myself won't be able to produce a similar work with ease.

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