Archive for Signs

M & W WC

Zeyao Wu took these two pictures in Guangzhou. She found these signs in a small market which sells vegetables and fruits.


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The sociolinguistics of the Chinese script

Jonathan Benda posted this on Facebook recently:

Reading [Jan Blommaert's] _Language and Superdiversity_ in preparation for my Writing in Global Contexts course in the fall. Does anyone else think the following conclusions about this sign are somewhat wrongheaded?

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Bad Chinese

Sign south of the demolished Pfeiffer Bridge on Highway 1 in Monterey County (photograph taken on August 12, 2017 by Richard Masoner while on a Big Sur bike trip, via Flickr):

Bad machine translation

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Annals of redundancy and masochism

Two gems from Chris Brannick via Facebook (the first is from the site of the Immortality Pills in Guangzhou and the second is from the Langham Place Hotel, also in Guangzhou):


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Katakana in Australia

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Avoid affenfion

Sign on a tree in Qingdao, Shandong, sent in by Dean Barrett:

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Li’l Ice AI writes Chinese poetry

About a week ago I received this Facebook query from Scaruffi.com about Chinese chatbot poetry (relayed by Mark Liberman):

Since friday Chinese social media are flooded with comments about a poetry book written by Microsoft's chatbot Xiaoice that was published on May 19 (three days ago).

I cannot find a single reference to this book in Google's search engine.

No western media seems to have picked up the news.
(As of today, monday the 22nd)

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Toxic clams

Photograph of a sign at Sequim Bay, Washington taken by Stephen Hart:

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No word for "Community Room"?

At the Valencia Police Station in San Francisco, CA, there is a sign reading "Community Room" in English and Spanish. There is also Chinese on the sign; however, apparently a word or two is not considered adequate to communicate this concept in Chinese.

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Salty pig's hand

Tony Lin, "End of the Line for Subway Ad Against Sexual Harassment:  One year later, Guangzhou feminist group still hasn’t succeeded in putting up anti-harassment billboards" (Sixth Tone, 4/28/17) is about a group of Chinese women who have — unsuccessfully so far — tried to place a series of public service notices in the Guangzhou subway, alerting passengers to the need to oppose groping. It contains pictures of the would-be ads, including this one:

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Jesus is good, beef noodles are good, and so is money

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Trilingual signs in Sicily

"The Jewish Ghosts of Palermo", a post on The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife, shows this photograph near the beginning:


Caption: Possibly the most important Jewish street in Palermo, the Via dei Cartari was
where all the Jewish scribes drew up any contract needed by the citizens of Palermo.

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Two-child policy

Under the one-child policy, which was in effect in China from 1979 till just recently, the following exhortation posted on the wall of a village house in China would have been unthinkable:

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