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Old July 2nd, 2010, 11:52 PM   #381
Fuzzy Llama
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Yeah, because everybody know English, including the older generation.
[/irony]

Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals was created for a reason. Pictorial signs are the only possible option for a continent where tens of languages are spoken and where international traffic is very common. There are very few signs which doesn't explicitly state their meaning (parking prohibitions and priority signs) but I don't see how to make them more self-explanatory without compromising the legibility.

Last edited by Fuzzy Llama; July 3rd, 2010 at 12:08 AM.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 11:59 PM   #382
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english is the universal language. there is a reason why road sings in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, etc. are in arabic, hebrew, etc. AND ENGLISH.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:04 AM   #383
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
I insist, if roads signs are to be text instead of graphic (or a combination thereof) the text should be in the country's official language and in English. Simple as that.
Simple? That gives five languages in Switzerland, up to four in Belgium, up to three in Swede, France, Germany, Poland, etc.

The situation is not limited to Europe or Asia, North America itself has interesting spots where you could easily count three official languages with English (Québec, but not only).
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:04 AM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
english is the universal language. there is a reason why road sings in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, etc. are in arabic, hebrew, etc. AND ENGLISH.
And the reason is called Latin alphabet.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:17 AM   #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMB View Post
Simple? That gives five languages in Switzerland, up to four in Belgium, up to three in Swede, France, Germany, Poland, etc.

The situation is not limited to Europe or Asia, North America itself has interesting spots where you could easily count three official languages with English (Québec, but not only).
FYI, Sweden, France, Germany and Poland only have ONE official language (i.e. Swedish, French, German, and Polish, respectively)

Canada has two official languages, English and French, with English being the most predominant. If I am not mistaken, in French-speaking regions of Canada (i.e. Quebec), all text-based road signs are both in English and French. On the contrary, in areas of Canada where English is more predominant (i.e. elsewhere from Quebec), all road signs are typically in English ONLY.

In regards to Belgium and Switzerland, they have multiple official languages. I do not know the signage situation there, by I doubt that text-based signage is in all official languages throughout the countries. Most likely they are only in the language most predominant where the sign is.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:19 AM   #386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
english is the universal language.
It is not. Only 25% of Poles declares some command of English (26% know Russian), and remember that the majority of drivers is from older generation where this percentage is much lower. Do you want to force every Polish driver to learn English? Even if a proverbial Jan Kowalski (=Jon Doe) only want to spend a summer week at the Bulgarian coast?

Quote:
In regards to Belgium and Switzerland, they have multiple official languages. I do not know the signage situation there, by I doubt that text-based languages are in all official languages throughout the countries.
They are not, but thanks to the system of pictorial signs one don't have to know the language in order to drive in the foreign language zone.

Last edited by Fuzzy Llama; July 3rd, 2010 at 12:24 AM.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:20 AM   #387
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I guess that anybody with a somewhat open mind can agree on this conclusion:
  • For such a big land mass with such a high percentage of English-knowing inhabitants, text-only signs are a perfectly acceptable solution.
  • Once there's another language in the neighbourhood, working with symbols is the best solution, as long as they're part of the driver's training and are either simple enough to understand or just universally the same.
  • Some pieces of information just have to be written out because they're so specific, but accompanied with a symbol, it can at least give an idea about what is being instructed (warnings, exceptions, ...).
  • Symbols are recognised slightly easier, but as long as the *exact* same words are used each time, text-only based signs are recognised pretty much equally fast. Any signs that look like another text-only sign and are pretty rare to see near a road may lead to misinterpretation though (because people would mix up the two signs).
  • To increase the effectiveness of some signs, it is a good idea to add line markings on the road. These don't allow for as much extra information as signs, but most of the time there's not that much extra information needed anyway.
  • In many countries, it would be completely impossible to have the signs in all the languages of the country and it wouldn't help international transport at all.
Greetings,
Glodenox
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:30 AM   #388
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy Llama View Post
It is not. Only 25% of Poles declares some command of English (26% know Russian), and remember that the majority of drivers is from older generation where this percentage is much lower. Do you want to force every Polish driver to learn English? Even if a proverbial Jan Kowalski (=Jon Doe) only want to spend a summer week at the Bulgarian coast
Hey, I am not saying that Europe should change from graphic to text signs. I commented because someone said that existing text signs in Europe are confusing because of the language barrier. Also, while the percentage of Poles that have an understanding of basic English is relatively low, it is much higher in other parts of the world. Besides, if the whole world used the same language for text-signs (besides the country's official language) words would eventually be recognized just as a graphic symbol. Just like the word "exit" is recognizable almost everywhere. cheers!
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 01:28 AM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
FYI, Sweden, France, Germany and Poland only have ONE official language (i.e. Swedish, French, German, and Polish, respectively)

Canada has two official languages, English and French, with English being the most predominant. If I am not mistaken, in French-speaking regions of Canada (i.e. Quebec), all text-based road signs are both in English and French. On the contrary, in areas of Canada where English is more predominant (i.e. elsewhere from Quebec), all road signs are typically in English ONLY.

In regards to Belgium and Switzerland, they have multiple official languages. I do not know the signage situation there, by I doubt that text-based signage is in all official languages throughout the countries. Most likely they are only in the language most predominant where the sign is.
You are mistaken about Canada. Most text-based signs in Quebec are in French only, and conversely you can find some bilingual signs outside Quebec. The federal government is supposed to be bilingual across the country, so you'll find bilingual signage on (for example) the bridge that carries autoroutes 10/15/20 across the Saint Lawrence at Montreal, because it's a federal facility. But as a general rule in Quebec, text is in French only because it's the sole official language; that's a matter of their cultural identity. I've done the drive between the New York or Philadelphia areas and Montreal several times, and you'll see more bilingual signage in the northernmost 40 miles or so of New York State than you will in Quebec. There's some bilingual signage right at the border - communicating essential information like "our highway signs are metric - 100 km/h = speed limit 60," but that's it.

Outside Quebec, certain provinces (New Brunswick) or areas (parts of Ontario with significant French-speaking populations) will get bilingual signage as a matter of provincial policy....

But you'll see more symbols and less text in Canada than in the U.S.

Last edited by Penn's Woods; July 3rd, 2010 at 01:34 AM.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 01:33 AM   #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
I guess that anybody with a somewhat open mind can agree on this conclusion:
  • For such a big land mass with such a high percentage of English-knowing inhabitants, text-only signs are a perfectly acceptable solution.
  • Once there's another language in the neighbourhood, working with symbols is the best solution, as long as they're part of the driver's training and are either simple enough to understand or just universally the same.
  • Some pieces of information just have to be written out because they're so specific, but accompanied with a symbol, it can at least give an idea about what is being instructed (warnings, exceptions, ...).
  • Symbols are recognised slightly easier, but as long as the *exact* same words are used each time, text-only based signs are recognised pretty much equally fast. Any signs that look like another text-only sign and are pretty rare to see near a road may lead to misinterpretation though (because people would mix up the two signs).
  • To increase the effectiveness of some signs, it is a good idea to add line markings on the road. These don't allow for as much extra information as signs, but most of the time there's not that much extra information needed anyway.
  • In many countries, it would be completely impossible to have the signs in all the languages of the country and it wouldn't help international transport at all.
Greetings,
Glodenox
Yep.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 02:03 AM   #391
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
there is a reason why road sings in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, etc. are in arabic, hebrew, etc. AND ENGLISH.
Because they were colonies of the United Kingdom. Former colonies of Russia have signs in Russian, former colonies of France have signs in French, and so on.

Here in Lebanon for example:
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 02:30 AM   #392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
If I am not mistaken, in French-speaking regions of Canada (i.e. Quebec), all text-based road signs are both in English and French.
No, in Québec the road signs are in French only, with only a few exceptions.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


[img]http://i46.************/iq8y9s.jpg[/img]

image hosted on flickr


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Old July 3rd, 2010, 02:31 AM   #393
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thank you guys for the clarification
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:51 AM   #394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPaulo View Post
Just like the word "exit" is recognizable almost everywhere. cheers!
Before they introduced the exit symbol, the Czech Republic used to put "exit" on the motorway signs.

[IMG]http://i45.************/2ue1c14.jpg[/IMG]
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:27 PM   #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Because they were colonies of the United Kingdom. Former colonies of Russia have signs in Russian, former colonies of France have signs in French, and so on.
Which countries do you mean?
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:47 PM   #396
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I think he wanted to say ex-Soviet Union
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 01:31 PM   #397
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Quote:
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I think he wanted to say ex-Soviet Union
At least none of the Baltic States uses Russian signs so I wonder which countries brisavoine meant. The only place you can find Russian on road signs in Estonia is at the border with Russia.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 01:33 PM   #398
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Maybe Rep. of Moldova, Ukraine and the -stans.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 03:48 PM   #399
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
No, in Québec the road signs are in French only, with only a few exceptions.

image hosted on flickr

I didn't know there was an autoroute 610; thought I knew the autoroutes. :-(
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 04:18 PM   #400
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogdymol View Post
Maybe Rep. of Moldova, Ukraine and the -stans.
Yeah, I was thinking about the -stans in particular. Also in the Caucasus, except Georgia.

Here for instance in Armenia:

[img]http://i46.************/orqszd.jpg[/img]
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