Archive for Language and tourism

"I have come from Rome, and all I brought you was this stylus"

So, kurzgesagt, reads the text that runs along all four sides of this two-millennia-old iron writing instrument excavated from an archeological site in London six years ago:

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A quantum leap in the Chinese toilet revolution

A friend was visiting in Lijiang, Yunnan Province (southwestern China) earlier this week.  She stayed in Yuhu 玉湖 village where Joseph Rock (1884-1962; the famous Austrian-American explorer, geographer, linguist, and botanist) lived nearly a century ago at the foot of Yulong 玉龙 Mountain.  The area around Lijiang has become a famous tourist destination, not only for the beauty of its natural scenery, but for the richness of its local culture (more about that below).  While in Lijiang, my friend was surprised to come upon signs for unisex toilets:

Here is some signage for such toilets in China:

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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:

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Gibberish Tibetan

Sign on an inn in Shangri-La, Yunnan, China:

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Chinese Chelsea

Janet Williams sent in this language selection panel from the official Sri Lanka Tourism website:

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Darling train tickets

In celebration of Valentine's Day, special commemorative train tickets for a trip between Dàlín (大林) and Guīlái (歸來) were a big hit in Taiwan this morning.

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Despicable human scum

For those wondering why on earth an official announcement about the solemn business of executing a traitor would use wildly overheated language like "despicable human scum" and "worse than a dog" (especially about the uncle of the reigning monarch), the BBC has published a short article on the language of North Korean posthumous character assassination.

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Artistic touristic linguistics

Andrew Spitz and Momo Miyazaki, students at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, posted this charming video of their cross-linguistic art project:

WTPh? (What the Phonics) is an interactive installation set in the touristic areas of Copenhagen. Street names in Denmark are close to impossible for foreigners to pronounce, so we did a little intervention :-)

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"Hong Kong people are dogs!"

That was the headline on the front page of the Saturday, January 21 Dōngfāng rìbào 東方日報 (Oriental Daily): "Xiānggǎng rén shì gǒu" 香港人是狗 (Hong Kong people are dogs). See here and here (with video).

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No Chinese Spoken Here

I just heard a report on a Beijing radio station about a nearby town being turned into an English-only enclave.  Not believing my ears, I looked it up online and found that, sure enough, there is such a plan afoot.  This report from People's Daily Online (originally published In Shanghai Daily) (December 16, 2011) is succinct enough that I will quote the whole article:

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