Re: Lavatories, bathrooms,... Was: Re: Hymn to Ikea
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, February 28, 2004, 18:05|
On Friday, February 27, 2004, at 07:02 PM, John Quijada wrote:
> I had to laugh at this, Philippe. You reminded me of an embarassing
> incident during my first trip to Spain in 1986 (and my first exposure to
> the Catalan language). I was in a Barcelona restaurant and went to use
> toilet. The first door I came to was marked _SENYORES_. Assuming this
> the Catalan equivalent to Spanish _SEÑORES_ I walked right in. Needless
> say, I quickly learned that _senyores_ is the plural of Catalan _senyora_
> and that the door I should have been looking for was marked _SENYORS_. I
> certainly could have used those pictograms you mention!
Fortunately, in that part of the UK where another language besides English
has official status, namely Wales*, the other language is quite different
so similar misunderstanding would not occur: DYNION (men) and MERCHED
(women) are not going to be confused with any English words (tho
pictograms might help monoglot anglophones if the signs are not
accompanied by English equivalents).
*not sure about the official status of Gaelic - I'm certain, however, it
doesn't have the same status up in Scotland as Welsh has in Wales.
John's anecdote reminded me of story that was current in the 1950s (and
may possibly still be around) and which, I suspect, is apocryphal. It
tells of an American tourist in Germany wanting to know where the public
convenience/lavatory/toilet/rest-room/etc was and being shown a building
with the sign HERREN, replied: "Sure - I see her'n, but I don't see his'n.
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760