Home » Language & identity, Language education

Signs from Around the World!

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 8, 2008 2 Comments

A really amazing Flickrite, Tony Bowden, has compiled a massive gallery of signs from around the world. Check it out here. [Hat tip: Chris Bodenner.] Looking at the signs he has collected, I was reminded of a very interesting sign I took a picture of, at a park in New Delhi, India, in December 2006. It was so funny, in so many ways, I took the picture and showed it to my Hindi 1A class (of which I was a Graduate Student Instructor here on campus).

Sign at a Park, New Delhi

Sign at a Park, New Delhi

As you can see, 5 words have been blacked out. The word that is blackened out is “मना,” which means “forbidden” in Hindi. Here’s what the sign originally meant to say in Hindi:

It is forbidden to litter in the park.
It is forbidden to drink alcohol and gamble in the park.
It is forbidden to engage in illicit activities in the park.
It is forbidden to ride a bike in this park.
It is forbidden to play cricket in the park.
It is forbidden to pluck flowers or tear off leaves in the park
. ”

If you remove the “मना” in the sentences, you are left with (here I give a loose translation):

You should litter in the park.”
“You should drink alcohol and gamble in the park.
You should engage in illicit activities in the park.
You should ride a bike in this park.
You should play cricket in this park
.”
The flowers and leaves…well, the “censor” left that part be, maybe (s)he was something of an environmentalist.

So, for all you sign-loving FITizens, what’s your story?

Tags: , , , ,

Digg this!Add to del.icio.us!Stumble this!Add to Techorati!Share on Facebook!Seed Newsvine!Reddit!

2 Responses to “Signs from Around the World!”

  1. daveski on: 8 December 2008 at 11:17 pm

    I like it! I’ll post some soon too. One of my favorites in Berkeley is on Shattuck Ave., near the Cheeseboard Pizza collective, in the grassy median between the opposing lanes of traffic. Actually there are 2 signs about 30 feet apart there, and they say, “KEEP OFF MEDIAN”. But someone has covered up the final “N” in both cases, leaving a much more reasonable message, I think…

  2. Usree Bhattacharya on: 9 December 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for this, Dave. Very funny, and, as you point out, a much more reasonable message. I was also thinking of how adding a comma could change the meaning of that sign as well…is it “keep off, media” or “keep of media”? It would be great to see a pic of that sign…could you upload it here?

Leave a Reply:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  Copyright ©2009 Found in Translation, All rights reserved.| Powered by WordPress| WPElegance2Col theme by Techblissonline.com