First thing yesterday morning Kish pointed out that it was 2/22/22, a “palindrome date.” (Or, if you live in a part of the world where the date precedes the month, the even more palindromic 22/2/22.) The fact that it fell on the second day of the week led some people to call it “Twosday.” And numerologists and those who are sensitive to the significance of this kind of thing contend that it was an auspicious day for reflection on relationships, good fortune, cosmic karma, Zen, and other highly spiritual things.
I therefore hope you all had a lucky, happy, spiritual, relationship-building Twosday.
My mind went in a slightly different direction, however, thinking instead of how the “two” sound, by itself, forms multiple words with totally different meaning. “Two” is a number. “To” connotes motion in a particular direction. “Too” reflects excessiveness (as in “eating too much”) and is also synonymous with “in addition.” And “tutu” is a specific kind of outfit for a female ballet dancer. No doubt the linguists among us could trace the distinct roots of each word to explain how they all developed with exactly the same sound.
Whatever their roots, I think there must be something that people particularly like about that “two” sound that would cause it to produce so many different standalone words. And it is not just true of English, either: in French, “tu” is the familiar form of “you.” Part of the attraction of yesterday’s palindrome must therefore simply lie in repeatedly making the “two” sound–which admittedly is pretty satisfying if you try it.
I also think that I am glad that I learned English as a kid growing up and assimilated all of the different “two” words as a matter of course, without giving it much thought. If you were someone who needed to learn English as a second language, trying to figure out what the person you were speaking to meant when they made the “two” sound might leave you flummoxed.