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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:32 AM   #121
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:42 AM   #122
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Town sign in German (top) and Alsatian (middle). The French authorities kept the German name of that town after 1919, but last year the local municipality decided to add the Alsatian name at the entrance of the town. Only the German name is official though. And yet the inhabitants of that town speak French today. Complicated you said?

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:48 AM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interstate275Fla View Post
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.

Your version for movable bridge (drawbridge) looks very good. American style but understandable for people who don’t speak English and also understandable for us who are used to European signs.

USA and Canada have a lot of signs with text and they are made so people must understand the language. The roads in North America are not made for international traffic and not for foreign people to drive on them. Here in Europe we have a long tradition of travelling over the border to another country where we don’t understand anything they speaks but we can use the roads and understand the signs.

I hope one day they maybe change a little bit in US too so it will be a little bit more easy for people who are not American to use your roads. Of cause we don’t take our cars to your country but sometimes European people rent a car and want to go around in the USA. In that situation we can have problem in your country.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:00 AM   #124
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Try pronouncing the places starting with a W.
It's pretty hard for someone who hasn't heard of these places before to say their names properly, but it's second nature to any Sydney sider.
The origin of the place names are Aboriginal.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:45 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germanicus View Post
^ 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.
You don't have to know all foreign languages and you don't have to know all town names in foreign countries. I suppose you don't know all town names in your country as well.

If you travel to some specific foreign city, you must know its name in local language anyway. Once you cross the border signs show that city name in domestic language only. For example in Slovakia except some old signs we don't use exonyms at all and noone have ever got lost because of it.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:48 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwert View Post
You don't have to know all foreign languages and you don't have to know all town names in foreign countries. I suppose you don't know all town names in your country as well.

If you travel to some specific foreign city, you must know its name in local language anyway. Once you cross the border signs show that city name in domestic language only. For example in Slovakia except some old signs we don't use exonyms at all and noone have ever got lost because of it.

I think you are right. If you are travelling to a different country you should know the name of the city where you are travelling in the local language. It's much easyer if you do so.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 12:00 AM   #127
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Morocco

It says "Tombouctou 52 days ( By camel )"

Zagora, Morocco.


These are more modern signs







Finally, I leave you with a smile!

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Old March 23rd, 2010, 05:39 AM   #128
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non-bilingual arabic signs

in most arab countries one finds signs on most dual-carriageway routes in both arabic and french or english. Libya is not most arab countries
so thought i'd share this vid of the third ring road in tarablus, libya
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwUvyj900wE
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:57 AM   #129
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Driving on the hard shoulder...
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Old March 26th, 2010, 01:47 AM   #130
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At the Danish/Swedish border, there are a few signs present in both the local language as well as English. Danish signs towards Sweden reads "Malmø" (Instead of the Swedish spelling, Malmö), and Swedish signs towards Denmark reads "Köpenhamn" (instead of the Danish spelling København)

The number of signs here have been kept to an absolute minimum, and all signs on the brdige itself only shows symbols.

On the Danish side, two signs shows that this will be the last exit before the toll road, one in English, the other in Danish:



I prefer it the Danish way over the Swedish way, because many people might miss the small Swedish sign:


On both sides of the bridge, road markings show that you will enter a new country, if you continue ahead:



The only sign with two languages on the Danish side is the "Toll Road" sign:
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Old March 26th, 2010, 07:38 AM   #131
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In towns at south of Slovakia is always majority of Hungarian citizens. Signs are in two languages - Slovak and Hungarian.



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Old March 26th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #132
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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?
Here is your reason:

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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #133
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1-0 for Palance...
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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:44 AM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spikespiegel View Post
I prefer it the Danish way over the Swedish way, because many people might miss the small Swedish sign:
That has to be an old photo or something. It's basically impossible to miss the last exit in Sweden:


First you have this (1000m before the exit):

image hosted on flickr




500m later (with flashing lights etc.):

image hosted on flickr




And at the exit:

image hosted on flickr
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #135
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The problem with the danish one, is that it states that Exit 16 is the last exit in Denmark.
On the swedish one it shows that the upcoming exit is the last one, instead of just using the number.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #136
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In Serbia, international directions generaly are written on english, something like here:

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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #137
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Actually, it isn't english. Serbian can both be written in Latin and Cyrillic letters
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:20 PM   #138
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Actually, it is (well, it can be Hungarian as well). Budapest in Serbian is called Budimpešta (Будимпешта).

EDIT: of course I'm speaking only about the international destination. I believe that Serbia officially uses two scripts, so the domestic destination are written using both of them.

Seeing how other international destinations are signed would help solving the language issue

Last edited by Fuzzy Llama; March 29th, 2010 at 11:30 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #139
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It seems to be the local language (Hungarian and Serbian). The đ is not an English letter.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:07 AM   #140
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Budapest is written in the language used in the country where the place belongs to - Hungarian.

The other destinations are transcripted in both Serbian version of Latin and Cyrillic alphabet, using original Serbian names.

"đ" sounds similar to Polish "dż" and probably is quite close to English "j' in let's say Jakarta.
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