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Old February 7th, 2010, 01:12 AM   #101
Interstate275Fla
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Differences between symbols and word message signs: Movable bridges

So far this is a great thread on linguistic issues as far as road signs are concerned. Being an American who lives in the great state of Florida I would like to share with you a difference in the signs we have in the USA compared to the signs in the rest of the world.

Having read many of the threads here on the Highways and Autobahns topic, I noticed that particularly in Europe you have symbols on your warning signs which I believe you are well used to. However, it's practically a different story if you happen to take a trip to the USA.

Most of our warning signs - which are always a diamond shape with a yellow background (even Ireland from what I understand has the same diamond shape warning signs like we do) - have some of the internationally recognized symbols such as the merging traffic and traffic signals ahead signs. Let's take a good example of a warning sign in the USA, the one where it warns you of a movable bridge ahead.

Before I go on further, the terms movable bridge and drawbridge mean the same thing. This should alleviate any confusion.

First, here's the movable bridge ahead sign that is commonly used in Europe (this sign is an Italian version from Wikipedia):



This tells you that a movable bridge is ahead and to prepare to stop if you have to.

Now here's the sign for a movable bridge - called a drawbridge - that is used in the USA:



The major difference is that instead of an internationally recognized symbol, it is actually a word message sign written in English which may be confusing for our international visitors. Which leads me to a suggestion to replace the word message Draw Bridge Ahead warning sign with an internationally recognized symbol sign.

I have drawn up a draw bridge ahead warning sign incorporating the international symbol for a movable bridge plus an educational plaque on the bottom for the sign's meaning:



I feel something like this would benefit our visitors from Europe and the rest of the world to let people know of an upcoming movable bridge. Not to get off topic here, but the USA DOT recently released a new version of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices which has made a lot of updates to our signage. However, I feel that the Draw Bridge Ahead warning sign should have been made into a internationally recognized symbol here in the USA for the benefit of our international visitors.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 02:29 AM   #102
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Some pictures of bilingual signs (Arabic and French) that I took in the far south of Morocco last year.

Here I was in the Sahara Desert. The sign says: "Caution: sands"
[img]http://i46.************/9iblp1.jpg[/img]

This one is about the construction of rural roads in the province of Tata, one of the most remote provinces in Morocco (you cross only one odd car every half hour on the road):
[img]http://i47.************/2dhrxbr.jpg[/img]

Foreign exchange at a post office in an oasis in the middle of nowhere:
[img]http://i45.************/s5ietd.jpg[/img]

This one says: "Caution! Risk of getting stuck in the sand"
[img]http://i48.************/2hzoak7.jpg[/img]

This sign informs people that a water treatment plant is under construction in Foum Zguid, financed 70% by the Islamic Bank of Development and 30% by the municipality of Foum Zguid. Foum Zguid is one of those 'end of the world' sort of places...
[img]http://i49.************/2z4bygk.jpg[/img]

The summit of the Tichka Pass, in the High Atlas, 2,260 m/7,415 ft above sea-level. It's snow you can see to the right of the picture.
[img]http://i50.************/2zrj4hx.jpg[/img]

Down from the pass:
[img]http://i48.************/2hxackh.jpg[/img]

Finally, two more pictures I took in the far south of Morocco. Not some road signs, but I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

[img]http://i35.************/t0loaw.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i35.************/2sb1gmv.jpg[/img]
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Old February 9th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HigerBigger View Post
Luckily we in South Africa do not write all 11 official languages on all our signs. We normally choose one at a time for road signs. The majority will be in English with some in Afrikaans.

Official signs indicating Government institutions like courts etc will be written in English, Afrikaans and the main local languages.
When I was in SA, I notice that in the Westcape province they use English and Afrikaans for the name Capetown. But they never use both names on one sign. It's very clear.

Capetown


Kaapstad


Stad - City
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Old February 19th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #104
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Lithuania



Highway in Lithuania, bilingual signs Lithuanian and Russian
photo from a book by Michael Welder about a trip to Kaliningrad / Koenigsberg, 1990
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Old February 20th, 2010, 05:21 PM   #105
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A few signs from NE Bulgaria:

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Old February 20th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #106
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So do I turn right or left to get to Balchik?

And that's interesting that the Lithuanian sign reads "Kaliningradas" instead of Karaliaucius. Russification at full force I guess.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 05:40 AM   #107
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Xinjiang / East Turkestan

Often signs in this province are bilingual in Uyghur Arabic script & Chinese script:




There are much better photos of bilingual signs on expressways which I couldn't re-find but it's quite interesting to browse the area for photos on google earth!
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Old February 21st, 2010, 07:28 AM   #108
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brazilian signs (in portuguese)










































































Last edited by Di-brazil; February 21st, 2010 at 07:55 AM.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:39 PM   #109
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too many pics = no pics (imho)
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:14 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Di-brazil View Post

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Old February 21st, 2010, 04:03 PM   #111
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I bet you never saw this roadsign before



And a closer one:

It means "Drunk citizens" (Drunk people)
I made this pictures last evening in the town of Pecica, Arad county, Romania (it was raining).
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 12:50 AM   #112
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Wow. thats great and gave me a very big smile now

Hehe, "citizen" is a great remind of past times... but honestly, is that sign for real or a nice joke?
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 10:26 AM   #113
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It's for real. I saw 3 signs like that in that town.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 07:56 PM   #114
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This is the way it should be.

No "Kleef" or "Keulen", but Kleve and Köln.

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:27 AM   #115
Germanicus
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^

Well, I think biligual is the better way. Why not using the local language and the language of the city which the sign is refering to? In this case that would mean Keulen (Köln).
Why shouldn't one use the local language at all?
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:43 AM   #116
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Because it'll mess up the signs. Less is more, and sign space is precious.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:44 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germanicus View Post
^

Well, I think biligual is the better way. Why not using the local language and the language of the city which the sign is refering to? In this case that would mean Keulen (Köln).
Why shouldn't one use the local language at all?
Sings should provide only necessary information. Nothing more nothing less. Traffic sign is not place for exonyms lessons.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:25 AM   #118
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Can you guess where this picture was taken?

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:26 AM   #119
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Quebec
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:28 AM   #120
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^ No exonyms would mean, that you have to know all languages and town names of your neighbouring countries. I guess that's not the case. Hence, signs should always indicate the local name of a town, too.
Sometimes less is indeed too less.
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