Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Those Brits!

Isn’t the English language fun? What began as a blend of Latin, French, and Germanic has grown to over 600,000 words, and Americans add several thousand each year with our penchant for adopting foreign phrases, embracing technology, and inventing slang.

English hands writers a vast palette with which to paint subtle shades of meaning, to create colorful nuance, rich expression...and comic misinterpretation--especially if you’re talking about BRITISH English.

To illustrate, here’s a collection of amusing signs from my past trips to England. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we Americans speak the same language!

Cruelty to animals? Is this anything like cow tipping?

Oh the humanity!

Soothing music? Aromatherapy? Meditation?

Paint with an attitude!

And here’s a sign from the Tower of London...

I’d like to think this was just tidy graffiti, but I’m afraid it’s a street name.

But perhaps the funniest wording I’ve ever seen on an English sign was one in Jamaica that said, DRIVE SLOWLY--SLEEPING POLICEMEN. The “sleeping policemen” were slow bumps in the road!

Know of any others?

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008


Annie Solomon said...

So...I give up. What IS fly tipping?

Sarah McKerrigan said...

It's putting your personal trash into a public dumpster. But I have NO IDEA where they came up with the name! (Violators may be reported at fixmystreet.com.)