Archive for Signs

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

Comments (1)

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (23)

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7)

No Japanese, South Koreans, or dogs

Here we go again.  Image trending on WeChat, a sign on a Beijing bus:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (35)

Hate

There are multilingual signs all over Swarthmore (where I live) that say "Hate Has No Home Here".  The signs are printed in six languages:  English, Urdu, Hebrew, Korean, Arabic, and Spanish.  I wondered about the choice of languages, but — with a little googling — I found that these are apparently the languages most commonly spoken at Petersen Elementary School in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago, where the campaign to post these signs originated.  It's interesting that the linguistic mix of an elementary school in Chicago determined the multilingualism of signs that are being posted all over the country.

Incidentally, there is also a #LoveThyNeighbor (No Exceptions) campaign going on, and here I wondered about the archaism of the "Thy".  It seems to me that the King Jamesian language of these signs conveys clear Christian overtones, which may account for the fact that there are far fewer of these signs around than the HHNHH signs.

"Hate" is also a hot topic in China these days.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (30)

Topolectal traffic sign

This has apparently been around for awhile, but I'm seeing it now for the first time:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (14)

PaPaPa

My, my! What does the signage on this van in Chengdu, Sichuan Province (China) say?

From: "Chinese firm ordered to remove sexually suggestive Valentine’s Day advertisements" (SCMP, 2/15/17).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9)

New Year's massacre

Boris Kootzenko spotted this truly bizarre banner at a service area on the highway leading west from Shanghai in Anhui Province:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9)

The origins of graphic communication, pt. 2

Annalee Newitz has a fascinating article on abstract Paleolithic notations in Ars Technica (

"38,000-year-old carving includes enigmatic 'punctuation' pattern:  New finding suggests that paleolithic Europeans shared a common set of symbols."

reporting on this paper:

R. Bourrillon, R. White, E. Tartar, L. Chiotti, R. Mensan, A. Clark, J.-C. Castel, C. Cretin, T. Higham, A. Morala, S. Ranlett, M. Sisk, T. Devièse, D.J. Comeskey, "A new Aurignacian engraving from Abri Blanchard, France: Implications for understanding Aurignacian graphic expression in Western and Central Europe", Quaternary International (1/24/17).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.09.063

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (4)

Particle amnesia

[This is a guest post by Nathan Hopson]

I know you've written a lot about character amnesia in the greater Sinosphere. But I think I witnessed the related, but significantly different, phenomenon of (grammatical) particle amnesia (or perhaps, "drift") during a recent trip to Hawaii.

As you know, Hawaii has a large nikkei* population. This is especially true in and around Honolulu, where I was for the Japanese Studies Association conference last week. In addition to an extraordinary number of Japanese tourists, Oahu is home to nisei,** sansei,*** and many people of mixed heritage. Japanese signs abound, and Japanese is spoken in many hotels, restaurants, and stores.

[*an American of Japanese descent.]
[**second generation; ***third generation]

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (19)

Haifa subway station names

In several recent posts, I have pointed out how Chinese and Japanese announcements and greetings for foreigners are often pronounced in a special way that deviates markedly from what Chinese and Japanese would say to each other:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (31)

He comfortable! He quickly dry!

A neighbor of mine, a respectable woman retired from medical practice, set a number of friends of hers a one-question quiz this week. The puzzle was to identify an item she recently purchased, based solely on what was stated on the tag attached to it. The tag said this (I reproduce it carefully, preserving the strange punctuation, line breaks, capitalization, and grammar, but replacing two searchable proper nouns by xxxxxxxx because they might provide clues):

ABOUT xxxxxxxx
He comfortable
He elastic
He quickly dry
He let you unfettered experience and indulgence. Please! Hurry up
No matter where you are. No matter what you do.
Let xxxxxxxx Change your life,
Become your friends, Partner,
Part of life

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Bus sign nerdview in Sydney

It's good to find a prominently displayed list of local bus routes that you can Find your way consult when you arrive at the train station in a big city that perhaps you do not know.

And Sydney Central station in New South Wales, Australia, has exactly that. There is a big board headed "Find your way" at the station. But let's take a closer look at it. See if you can spot the nerdview (pointed out to me by Language Log reader Geoff Dawson).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (29)