By John Hertz: In the United States a date is often written as Our Gracious Host does. For example, September 17, 2019 is often written 9/17/19.
If you allow adjustments to punctuation “9/17/19” backwards is “9/17/19” – the same as forwards: a palindrome.
English is an alphabetical language. We can have palindromes like “Able was I ere I saw Elba” which Napoleon 1769-1821 could have said (it seems to have appeared in 1848), or “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!” for Theodore Roosevelt 1858-1919 (coined by Leigh Mercer 1893-1977).
Incidentally, 2019 is the centenary of TR’s death.
If English were an ideographic language, where a character is a word (we do that with Arabic numerals: “2” is “two”), we could read “You ain’t seen nothing yet” backwards as “So far nothing ever seen matches you.”
Opinions vary over whether a palindrome must have the same meaning read backward and forward, or may have different – perhaps comically different – meanings.
Chinese is an ideographic language. Its grammar is flexible, or powerful, or something: for example, there are no nouns or verbs, which we sometimes manage with “He laid a knife on the table” and “I’ll knife you.” It’s great for poetry.
Su Hui, a Chinese woman of seventeen hundred years ago (I give her name in Chinese style, “Su” the family name, “Hui” the personal name), made a poem of 112 characters, or some say 841. One story says she embroidered them in a circle.
A thousand years later her poem was known as a grid of 29 x 29 characters that could be read forward, backward, horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or in sub-grids, three thousand ways – some say eight thousand. This note includes translation by David Hinton (1954- ).
And here’s a note on Hsiung Yin-tso and his Chinese Palindrome Poems of Four Seasons (1978).
Do geese see God?