Signs, Inscriptions, and Displays in Washington DC
Saturday, September 25, 2010
London: Sundry Items
Continuing my blog entries beyond DC, I include some things from another capital city: London.
Welcome sign at Gatwick Airport. Unusual choice of languages, among them Swedish, English, and (simplified) Mandarin Chinese. Not sure what those other two languages are.
A selection of newspapers in Bloomsbury. I see papers in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Norwegian, and (perhaps) Arabic.
Elsewhere in London, some silly ethnic stereotyping. Posters on the walls of various tube stations feature celebrity chef Jaime Oliver promoting different "exotic" cuisines (French, Spanish, Italian).
In Southwark, a warning sign on one of the entrances into a mid-day RSC performance of "the Scottish play" (Macbeth) at the Globe. I don't know if this was intentional, but the adjective "gruesome" has been associated with the Scots origins (the Oxford English Dictionary, for instance, cites Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott as some of the earliest quotations). For what it's worth, the verb gruwe(n) does exist in Middle English and the word has even older Germanic origins.
On a side street near the British Library, I spotted this storefront sign. Nice choice for the business name - it signals how the establishment caters to "transvestites, transsexuals, and transgendered" clients (see the website).
This park sign provides many examples supporting the idea that the US and Britain are divided by a common language (click to see larger image). "Whilst" strikes me as a distinctly British usage. Note also "lead" (leash), [trash] "bins" [cans], and "busking" [performing in public places seeking for money - I don't see this term much in the US]. Of course the red "do not X" icons are universal - they work in any language.
I end with this photo I took on the tube (again, click to see larger image). I don't have much to say about it, other than saying I like this poem.