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Chinese Palindromes

Palindromes are phrases that can be read from left to right or right to left, such as: "Never odd or even". Most English palindromes usually require some flexibility on the part of the reader because, while the correct sequence of characters is there, the spacing may not be. A different type of palindrome, called a word-unit palindrome, does not require the reader to reverse the letters of each word, treating each word as unit instead. An example is "Fall leaves after leaves fall". Because of the nature of Chinese characters, all Chinese palindromes are word-unit palindromes.

Non-mirror Image Palindromes

Although English palindromes are usually defined as reading the same in either direction, many Chinese palindromes can be read with different meaning in each direction. This fact, combined with the fact that Chinese characters are often written to be read from left to right, right to left, and top to bottom, has given rise to several works of fiction where a note written in one direction is read in the opposite direction with unintended tragic or comical consequences.

Chinese Translations
→ I love Momma.
← Momma Loves me.
→ Everybody cares about me.
← I care about everybody.
→ A man walks past Big Buddha Temple.
← The temple's Buddha is bigger than a man.
→ Guest goes to Tien Ran Ju.
← It's a guest from Heaven.
→ King of youth looks like a lady.
← The lady looks like Wang Zhong Lang.

→ Lucky places produce many worthy people.
← Worthy people come from a very lucky place.

→ Monk travels to Cloud Hiding Temple.
← The temple hides the clouds and traveling monks.
→ Man is like being among willow trees.
← It's like a man among willow trees.

→ Rain nurtures the spring trees and makes them so green and tall they connect to the sky.
← The sky connects with the green trees and the spring nurtures the rain.
→ The wind spreads the flower fragrance and red petals all over the ground.
← The ground is covered in red and fragant flowers say farewll to the wind.

→ Bright red flowers fall with the rain.
← Rain falls with the flowers and becomes red.

→ Water after water, mountain after mountain, it's pretty everywhere.
← It's pretty because every place has mountains and waters.

→ Sometimes it's sunny. Sometimes it's rain. It's good and strange.
← It's strange and good that sometimes it rains and sometimes it's sunny.

→ Spring returns to Xiafu village.
← The village is famous and returns to spring first.
→ The window in the fog is coldly facing the distant sunset
← The sunset sky distantly facing the cold window in the fog.

See also

Continue to Mirror Image Palindromes.

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