Archive for Signs

With precision and elegance

From Victor Steinbok:

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Public Romanization in Canton

Sign on the wall of a school:


(Source)

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Love me, then do not terrify me

Posted to the Twitter thread that began with the Arabic menu full of spectacularly bad mistranslations into English featured here ("Accuracy of sheep meat" [5/26/20]):

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Hong Kong: language, art, and resistance

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Instant divorce

Board in front of a Hūnyīn dēngjì chù 婚姻登记处 ("marriage registration office") in Chongqing, China:


(source)

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"Be careful of the truth"

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Multilingual Utica confronts COVID-19

From Brenton Recht:

I live in a city with a large immigrant population in general and a large Bosnian population in particular (Utica, NY [VHM: population around 60,000; between Syracuse and Schenectady]). As such, I see "BiH" bumper stickers once in a while on the road. Most of the Bosnian population either came during the breakup of Yugoslavia or are children of those immigrants, so they are probably following the American trend of putting round stickers on your car for things you like or identify with, rather than the European usage of using them to identify country of origin.

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Alphabetical transcriptions in Cantonese

[This is a guest post by Till Kraemer]

I live in Hong Kong, and many things are fascinating here, especially the way they use English characters in Cantonese. Some very frequently used words (including tones and everything) don't have Chinese characters at all, like "hea" and "chur". Obviously it's colloquial, but this interesting Chinese/English mix goes as far as official names of movies:

(image source)

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Ladies' room

Photograph taken at the Los Angeles International Airport:

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Arrogant squid, ch. 2: the mystery deepens

Four days ago, we were treated to the "Arrogant squid of North Texas" (2/2/20).  The longer we pondered this conundrum, the more puzzling it became.  We know exactly where the sign is located (23 miles southeast of Houston and about 10 miles west of Trinity Bay, which joins with Galveston Bay to the south), but we couldn't figure out how and why the "arrogant squid" was connected with North Texas, Southwest District, East Location.

Reader Sarah S. kindly took it upon herself to do a bit of research and reached out to the representative of the building's owner.  Surprisingly, he replied with a (very strange?) message from the tenant:

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Arrogant squid of North Texas

Joe Tello sent me this funny sign:

The line of Chinese at the top says "àomàn yóu 傲慢鱿" ("arrogant squid").  That's puzzling enough by itself, but I actually found the English to be even more mystifying.  It seems to be telling us that this place is in the East Location of the Southwest District of North Texas.  When I try to figure out on a map of Texas where that would put it, my imagination fails me.

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Don't eat the carpet

Sign in an Indian airport:

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"Will life be better in the coming year?"

So asks the Chinese colleague who sent me this photograph:

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