Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Different Languages, Different Audiences

November 2009. Signs in numerous languages (above) are appearing in stations throughout the Metro system; while all of them were produced by the DC Office of Human Rights, the text isn't equivalent in each one.

The French sign (Federal Triangle) addresses its reader in formal diction, employing the polite pronoun vous. "Saviez-vous que les agences gouvernementales du District de Columbia sont tenues de vous fournir leurs services dans votre langue gratuitement?" = Did you know that government agencies in DC are required to provide their services to you in your own language, free of charge?

The Spanish sign (Smithsonian) is much more direct, adopting the position of the person who actually requires certain services: "Es mi idioma; es mi derecho." = It's my language; it's my right.

For more on the French sign, see my very first blog posting.

P.S. For those who are interested, I also include the Spanish and Vietnamese signs (below).

P.S. The Vietnamese sign is in the Foggy Bottom station.

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