This ‘n That: Lost in Translation

I just finished reading an interesting book by Bill Bryson called Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way. After reading how English has evolved and the difficulties non-English speakers experience when learning the language, I came across an Internet offering from friend Ignacio. He sent a list of signs posted in English in non-English speaking countries. Here is a sampling:

1. In a cocktail lounge in Norway: “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.”

2. A sign on a highway near Nairobi, Kenya: “Take notice: When this sign is under water, this road is impassable.”

3. In a restaurant in India: “Open seven days a week and weekends.”

4. In a cemetery in Beijing, China: “Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.”

5. Hotel in Japan: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”

6. Airline ticket office in Copenhagen, Denmark: “We take your bags and send them in all directions.”.

7. (I saved the best for last) In a Tokyo, Japan bar: “Special coctkails for ladies with nuts.”

Note: Having lived in a foreign country for awhile, I can appreciate the difficulty of learning a new language. The English language is probably the most difficult because of all the nuances in spelling, meaning, and pronunciation, as well as misplaced phrases, as these signs demonstrate. Printing them here is not meant to make fun of the country posting them, but rather to make us appreciate how difficult our crazy English language really is….and my admiration for these countries making an effort to communicate in a language that has so many exceptions, the rules can seem foolish.

Light & Shadows at Chanticleer Gardens

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