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Lavatories, bathrooms,... Was: Re: Hymn to Ikea

From:Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Date:Friday, February 27, 2004, 7:59
I guess it's *lavare* (French *laver*) that means
*wash*. Lava is indeed rock of volcanic origin.

I was very interested by the expression *a public
bathroom*. Translated into French, this would be *une
salle de bains publique*, and I never saw such a thing
anywhere. We have public toilets, public showers in
some case (on the motorways, mainly for
truck-drivers), public baths (less and less used,
since we now have running water in our homes :-) ),
and swimming-pools, but what can be a public bathroom,
I can't guess. I imagine my own bathroom in a size of
x100 for ex. Would be funny. A huge room with 100
bath-tubes in front. After all, that might be the
American conception of hygiene: I heard that in the US
Army, there are rooms with dozen of holes in front,
without any separation, so people can shit and talk
together in the same time, which is certainly quite
convenient. In the French Army, we use to shit
privately (but not in the prisons).

In French, there always have been lot of expressions
to signify 'toilets': looks like we're a little bit
ashamed of our physiological necessities: les
toilettes, les W.C., le petit coin, les lieux, les
lavatories, les cabinets (seldom used nowadays), etc.

Toilets are also an interesting place from a
semiologic point of view: it is one of the first
places where the use of pictograms have been
generalized, to indicate "MEN" vs "LADIES". I think
this has spread all over the world by know, and it's a
good thing, because imagine that you're in a Muslim
country for ex, and you can't make the distinction
between the words meaning "Men" and "Ladies" ? You
might get your head chopped off. This is dangerous.

Pictograms are extending everywhere I think,
especially in aeroports, planes, and all means of
transport, but also on goods, etc. So maybe we will
end by adopting the Chinese way. One single sign, and
everybody can pronounce it in his own language.

As to trolleys, we call them *chariots* or *caddies*,
but that's dangerous too, because Caddie (R) is a
registered appellation, and there are people in Caddie
(R) firm whose sole occupation is to find out people
using this name without mentioning that is is
registered, and let them be fined. Nice job. So when
we use such a thing, my wife and I, we call it
*telezhka*, which is the Russian word for it, and so
we don't get fined neither thrown to jail.

--- Tristan McLeay <kesuari@...> wrote:
> --- Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...> wrote: > > From: "And Rosta" <a.rosta@...> > > Subject: Re: Hymn to Ikea (was: Re: Re: CHAT: > > F.L.O.E.S. > > > > > > > Joseph Fatula: > > > You'd be hard pressed to find a "lavatory" around > > here, though about half > > the people in this city would understand that > "lava" > > means "wash"... But to > > answer your question, a public bathroom would be > > either "vacant" or "in > > use", depending on its contents. > > 'Lava' means 'wash'? I thought it was molten rock or > baby insects, though I think the latter has at least > one R in there somewhere. (Phones can be either > engaged or busy here in free variation. Public > toilets > say 'engaged' and 'vacant' I think, but I pay more > attention to the color. It's certainly usually one > longish word, so 'engaged' fits best.) > > > It doesn't sound much like a car to me. Cars are > those > things with four wheels and generally five seats > that > people own and drive around (even passenger vans > (i.e. > ones with eightish seats) are stretching the > definition of 'car'). Or of course toy versions and > the like. What you call trolleys I call trams, > though > they're generally powered from above. An individual > part of a train is a carriage. (I use trolley the > same > way And does.) >
===== Philippe Caquant "Le langage est source de malentendus." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Get better spam protection with Yahoo! Mail.


John Cowan <cowan@...>