Archive for Signs

Toilet revolution!, part 2

Why China still needs one, and Chairman Xi keeps calling for a profound transformation of toilet etiquette:

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"Falling rocks" versus "fallen rocks"

[This is a guest post by an anonymous correspondent.]

We traveled last week from our home in Baltimore out to see our daughter in Ohio, and while en route in Pennsylvania, my husband and I noticed something. At various points along the turnpike, we saw signs that noted "Falling Rocks" and others that noted "Fallen Rocks." It was after dark as we drove, so we couldn't see what the hillsides looked like, but we found it unusual to see both signs, which appeared to be in free variation. We didn't see any rocks in the road, and happily for us, none came rolling down as we passed.

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Vietnamese nail shop

Charles Below writes:

As a follow-up to "Diacriticless Vietnamese on a sign in San Francisco" (9/30/18), I saw this sign about a block or two away on a closed nail salon. I note the stray dot over the I in NAILS.  The surname I've redacted is, I believe, Irish.

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Dangerous entrance

Photo taken by Ori Tavor in Beijing at the Bank of China next to Hepingmen subway station:

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Diacriticless Vietnamese on a sign in San Francisco

Charles Belov sent in this photograph of a sign posted on the Pho 2000 restaurant on Larkin Street in San Francisco:

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The pig(s) and the raccoon

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Please Wait to be Seated

Sign at a hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, spotted by Marc Sarrel:

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∆ in Chinese

Karl Smith saw this sign in Taichung, Taiwan:

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Explication of a scene at a labor rally

The following photograph accompanied this article:

"China's Student Activists Cast Rare Light on Brewing Labor Unrest", U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 14, 2018)


People hold banners at a demonstration in support of factory workers of Jasic Technology, outside Yanziling police station in Pingshan district, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sue-Lin Wong

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Massive miswriting

"Can Chinese Write Their Own Language?" | ASIAN BOSS (7/19/18)

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Green Loosen Stone

Photo taken by Bathrobe at a Teppanyaki restaurant (currently undergoing renovation) in Qinhuangdao (a coastal port city in northeastern Hebei province):

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Long words

I'm in Hamburg for lectures and meetings this week.

The first day I was here, in the afternoon I went out for a walk.  After taking about 50 steps from the front door of my hotel, I saw this lettering on the glass facade of a nearby building:

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"Language Log" — a request

As you are aware, our fans in China and elsewhere around the world would like to translate "Language Log" into their own languages.  The problem is that there are different words for "language" and "log" in the many languages that they wish to cover.

For example, the Romance languages distinguish between the faculty of language—the human capacity to communicate, using spoken or written signs—from specific oral or written natural languages (French, Mandarin, etc.). One chooses between one word or the other depending on the subject under discussion. In English, the same word can be used for both phenomena.

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