Monday, September 24, 2007
It's very interesting, living in Europe. Compared to the United States, countries are so close together that it's easy to cross through them, similarly to how I would regularly cross between Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, often in the same day. Imagine if people in MD, VA, and DC all spoke different languages like people in different European countries do... This would presumably pose a problem for signage, because one would have to post directions and important warnings in multiple languages so that people could read them. The thing I don't get (and the reason for this post) is why, on such signs, signmakers have found the need to designate the languages, either with a flag or a country symbol (ex. GB, FR, CZ, etc.) prior to the text. You would think that someone reading a sign would recognize their own language and not have to look at a sign thinking "Hmm, I wonder which of these is written in English? Gee, it sure is nice that they put a little Union Jack next to the English language portion of the sign. I could have spent ages trying to read this warning in Russian... Whew!!" No. People presumably don't do that, leading me to conclude that language designation is just a waste of time, space, and sign ink. Stupid.