Saturday, October 04, 2008

The sign police will not save us in Taiwan...

Today in the Guardian there was a piece titled, Public urged to point out baffling signs which says that beginning in Leeds and moving on to London,
Britain's baffling collection of ungrammatical, misspelt, out of date and plain wrong public signs is to have a national audit, with the public recruited as error spotters.
Can you imagine this taking place in Taiwan, the personnel it would require on the English signs alone? It would be a public works project equal to the Great Canal. Think of the hit the treasury would take. The Bangladeshis could waltz in here and mop up after something like that. The sign that the Guardian uses as an example is pretty lightweight - a missing apostrophe. They should come here after they have tidied up Blighty, Taiwan will eat them alive.

A 'snipe' is of course, 'a bird with a long, slim beak that lives mainly in wet areas,' says my dictionary, and while I agree that I don't want to end up peeing on one of them, I somehow doubt these are the wet areas the dictionary was referring to.

My wife says that the Chinese text refers to 'cigarette butts' whereas, according to Wikipedia a 'snipe hunt' is,
"... a form of wild goose chase that is also known as a fool's errand, is one of a class of practical jokes that involves experienced people making fun of newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task."
Like fixing all the English signs in Taiwan...

p.s. the above photos are from my trusty cellphone. If you are interested in more along the same vein, you might check out An American Teacher in Taiwan's post, Taiwan's Wacky English Signs

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