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Source: (consider it) Thread: "Clean" means "Dirty"
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Wittgenstein uses the example of people who read arrows in the opposite direction from the rest of us as an example of the arbitrary nature of symbols. I thought he was speculating until my two-year daughter started reading arrows.

I'll confess to not being a Wittgenstein scholar, but will say not all symbols are exactly arbitrary. Many are contextual, which isn't quite the same thing.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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St. Gwladys
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# 14504

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quote:
Originally posted by cosmic dance:
My favourite confusing expression is the South African "just now" as in "I'll see you just now" which actually means "I'll see you later". If someone actually means "now" they will say "now now".

Least that's the way it was when I was in that part of the world...

In Wenglish - South Walian dialect, there's a difference between "just now" and "now just". "just now" tends to be past tense - I did it a short time ago, whilst "now just" means, "now, shortly", as oppossed to "now, in a minute" (another dialectualism], meaning "as soon as I have time"! I'm confused just thinking about it - it's all just a matter of context but makes perfect sense to the speaker and listener!

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"I say - are you a matelot?"
"Careful what you say sir, we're on board ship here"
From "New York Girls", Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown (Voiced by Peter Sellers)

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Or, as in the Cornish, 'Dreckly', which doesn't actually mean Directly at all, but when I get A Round Tuit, which might even mean never.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Hilda of Whitby
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# 7341

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When I first went to Munich in 1984, I knew almost no German. In my first walk around town, I marveled (fortunately just to myself) that so many streets had signs that seemed to indicate that the street name was "Einbahnstrasse".

[Hot and Hormonal]

Of course, it means "one way street"!!

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"Born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad."

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Eutychus
From the edge
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It took me a while in France to realise that Hors gabarit was not some seedy banlieue but a route for vehicles too high to fit under the bridge/in the tunnel/etc.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
It took me a while in France to realise that Hors gabarit was not some seedy banlieue but a route for vehicles too high to fit under the bridge/in the tunnel/etc.

I wondered why so many villages were named Rappel

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
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And on a holiday to North Wales many years ago we remarked on the signposts to a place called 'Llwybr Cyhoeddus' .... until we realised it meant Public Footpath

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Fancy a break beside the sea in Suffolk? Visit my website

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Zacchaeus
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# 14454

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I am with Penny on lift door signs. They are confusing - I can never work out which one is which.

I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

me too for not understanding lift signs..
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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
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quote:
Originally posted by Pearl B4 Swine:
I've never been able to use or understand the symbols for < and > greater than and less than - the arrows in either direction.

I can reason it both ways. It was a killer for me on school standardized tests.

I love the little helper, "Righty-tighty, lefty- loosey". However, it seems to depend on how you're holding the things to be connected, or whether you're in front of, or behind the the two hoses... ah, it's so complicated.

That one I remember as the wider side points to biggest figure - so 5 > x means 5 is greater than x.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Smudgie

Ship's Barnacle
# 2716

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
quote:
Originally posted by Pearl B4 Swine:
I've never been able to use or understand the symbols for < and > greater than and less than - the arrows in either direction.

I can reason it both ways. It was a killer for me on school standardized tests.

I love the little helper, "Righty-tighty, lefty- loosey". However, it seems to depend on how you're holding the things to be connected, or whether you're in front of, or behind the the two hoses... ah, it's so complicated.

That one I remember as the wider side points to biggest figure - so 5 > x means 5 is greater than x.
The way I taught kids to remember it was to imagine the > or < sign as the mouth of a crocodile opening. A hungry crocodile would open its mouth to eat the biggest piece of cake [Big Grin]

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Miss you, Erin.

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I am with Penny on lift door signs. They are confusing - I can never work out which one is which.

I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

I think that perspective is coming in here - as is my use of greater than and less than instead of actual triangles because of their absence from the keyboard. Though lift doors do tend not to be at an angle, and to look rectangular.

I realise that not everyone can read the relevant language, but why not use words and signs? Or actual arrow shapes with the shaft as well as the head? Thus <- -> is open, and -><- is close. Lots of arrow shapes exist in umpteen graphics packages.

Never had any trouble with > and < in maths, though. The big end is to the big thing, and the small to the small.

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The Rogue
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# 2275

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Saying "I'll drop over to see you tomorrow" was taken to the absurd when I was a student living in a multi-storey building and an Irish friend said "I'll drop up to see you."

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If everyone starts thinking outside the box does outside the box come back inside?

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Mili

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I was recently at a café set on it's own farm where the owners grew ingredients for the food called 'The Farmer's Place'.

To get to the toilets you had to go through a doorframe and from where we were sitting we could see two toilet doors. We laughed and thought it was a bit insulting that the women's toilet was indicated with a pink cow and the men's with an orange male farmer on a tractor. Later when I went to the toilet I realised there was another door with a blue bull for men and the tractor indicated the disabled toilets.

We weren't the only ones confused as I later watched a boy of about 10 years old stand looking confusedly at all the doors and decide the tractor was the men's toilet.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

I rather think the point of this thread is that there is no such thing as something that is clear to everyone. Certainly, that was the point in the thread in Purgatory from which it sprang.
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

I rather think the point of this thread is that there is no such thing as something that is clear to everyone. Certainly, that was the point in the thread in Purgatory from which it sprang.
In many cases, such as Mili's cafe above, bar and cafe owners are using symbols to try to be cute rather than clear. It's usually on the doors to the toilets, too. This is why there are standards for things like emergency exit signage - yes, I know they're ugly, and they spoil your aesthetic, but they are recognized by almost everyone.
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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
This is why there are standards for things like emergency exit signage - yes, I know they're ugly, and they spoil your aesthetic, but they are recognized by almost everyone.

Even Vogons [Smile]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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W Hyatt
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# 14250

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
This is a Pond thing*, but it's always puzzled me that a Brit who says "I couldn't care less" means exactly the same as an American who says "I could care less".

[Confused]

* No pond-war intended: I'm genuinely confused.

Really? "I couldn't care less" means that I do not care at all. It's like saying I could't get colder than absolute zero.

Surely "I could care less" means that I care somewhat but am in danger of not caring any more.

I think of the phrase "I could care less" as a shortened version of "Like I could care less" because that's the only way I can make any sense of it.

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Jestocost:
My father gets confused by the type of electrical switch that has a white face or a red face. The red face usually means the switch is on. He interprets it as meaning the switch is off, because if it was (say) powering a life support machine then that would be the more life-threatening of the two options. Not that his career has ever taken him anywhere near life-support machines, but that's the way his mind works.

I always wonder about designers who choose to mark the two positions of an on/off switch with two circles: one solid (i.e. a disc) and one just a circular line. My guess is that one of them is supposed to look full and the other empty, but who's to say which is which? Or is one of them supposed to look like a light that's on and the other like one that's off? And does it matter if it's done with white paint on a dark background rather than the other way around?

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Ariel
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# 58

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

On computer desktops and menus there are icons and they usually have little labels underneath them. It's rare that they're entirely unexplained icons. This suits both the people who work better with written words than images, and those who find symbols more useful.

Some programs do let you remove labels and just have the symbols. It can be surprisingly disconcerting to try to work without the labels.

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la vie en rouge
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# 10688

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In a church I visited recently, there was a sign posted up saying “please turn off the lights on the landings and stairs”. Apparently this was more ambiguous than it looks because someone had helpfully added “When you leave”. [Snigger]

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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Enoch
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# 14322

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'Disabled Exit' is ambiguous, as is 'this exit is alarmed'.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
In many cases, such as Mili's cafe above, bar and cafe owners are using symbols to try to be cute rather than clear. It's usually on the doors to the toilets, too.

There's a restaurant I've been to a few times in Fukushima that doesn't have symbols at all, just the words. Being helpful to those who can't read kanji, the words were also given in romanji - which means I could pronounce the words, but had to scurry for my phrase book to make sure I knew which door was which.

And, sometimes having the symbol and the words can introduce some confusion. There's a pub in Glasgow that always has people taking a double take. Standard man symbol, under which is the word "Laddies".

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Piglet
Islander
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I'm reminded of a restaurant (I think it was in Belfast) where the corridor to the lavatories was sign-posted "The Johns". The separate facilities were labelled "Elton John" and "Olivia Newton-John".

[Killing me]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Amorya

Ship's tame galoot
# 2652

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I know that they need signs not words, because of language issues, but the symbols need to be clear. To everyone.

There's two ways a symbol can be clear though. One is if it is intuitive without context. The other is if it is prevalent and reasonably simple, so people can just learn to attach the meaning to it.

For example, the "Save" icon is a floppy disk. In the past it was clear through being intuitive. Today, I argue that it is still clear, since it's a commonly used symbol. It no longer needs to represent a physical thing, it just represents the action of saving.

Lift buttons all use the same icons. Even if they're not intuitive, they are common and thus learnable. And since there's no particularly catastrophic effect if you use the wrong one, people can learn them through trial and error.

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Offeiriad

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
When I was a child the incumbent of the parish had a stock of cards which he would put through the door of a house if he called and didn't get an answer; the cards read

"The Rector called and was sorry to find you not at home."

It could be worse: how about
"The Rector called and found you out"? [Devil]

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
And, sometimes having the symbol and the words can introduce some confusion. There's a pub in Glasgow that always has people taking a double take. Standard man symbol, under which is the word "Laddies".

It would be even more confusing if the man symbol were wearing kilts.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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Penny S
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As a child, I was twice given pairs of words and told that there was a confusion between them, and that I should be careful to use the right one. The first pair was continual/continuous. The second was sensual/sensuous - the A-level English teacher was very anxious that we should not use the wrong one for Keats, as the other applied to Byron, who we were NOT studying. I still, because I am persistently aware of the possibility of confusion, have to check each time if I want to use them. Especially continual/ous, as they don't have a nice label like "mad, bad and dangerous to know" attached to them. The same applies to those lift signs. I know I make mistakes, so the expected usage doesn't stick. Sorry. But I am relieved I am not the only one.
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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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"Uninterested/disinterested" is another such "suspect pair".
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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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'nauseous/nauseating/nauseated' is a triplet. I hate hearing people talk about feeling nauseous.

Moo

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See you later, alligator.

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L'organist
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My bête noire is decimated used to imply a massacre or near annihilation.

Decimation means the singling out (and killing) of every 10th soldier in a cohort or legion: I think you'd find most people taking part in the Battle of Kursk, say, or at the Somme, would have found the idea of decimation a more acceptable casualty rate.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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We're not wandering into the land of similar pairs of words with oft-confused meanings, are we? And out of the land of words that, for some people, have exactly the opposite meaning of what most people think they mean?

To return to that land . . . I've long marveled at the use of "bad" to mean "good". At least the comparative and superlative degrees are formed differently. After all, "Bad, bad Leroy Brown, worst man in the whole damned town" means something quite different from "Bad, bad Leroy Brown, baddest man in the whole damned town."

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"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

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Chocoholic
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I was reading some meeting minutes last week that was making a point about some staff regularly working at a certain site while others didn't. It referred to "regular" and "irregular" staff.
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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
'nauseous/nauseating/nauseated' is a triplet. I hate hearing people talk about feeling nauseous.

I think that's a pond difference, too. I don't think that "nauseated" has ever really existed in UK usage in the sense that it is used in the US.
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CuppaT
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# 10523

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Back to confusing signs for a moment. It is a family story of ours that my mom took my two oldest sisters shoe shopping when they were little girls, and parked in a convenient spot along the street, only to find a policeman writing a ticket when she came back to the car. "Officer, why are you ticketing me?" she asked angrily. "Lady, you can see the sign: Police Only No Parking." "That's right!" she replied. "And you can see I am not a policeman, but just shopping!"

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Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it any longer, draw back a little and have a cup of tea.
~Elder Sophrony

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Galloping Granny
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# 13814

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Two particular bugbears:-

1. Signing which seem to have been laid out by highway engineers who can't imagine that there are people who don't already know the way - in which case why would they need the signs?

2. Highway engineers who put one sign directly behind another so that you can't see it until it's too late.

One would have thought both these were obvious, but they're not.

Many years ago, when we first came to Matarangi, at a place where a minor road turned off the provincial highway if you came from the east, a sign indicated the way to Matarangi – via what became a narrow, winding road around steep bluffs above the rocks, where some large vehicles got into very sticky situations, and cars towing caravans or boats dreaded meeting oncoming traffic. If you approached from the west, though, you came first to a broad, well-paved access road.

The roading authority were persuaded to change the sign. So they put a new sign post that named only the two bays before Matarangi, and they erected it opposite the branch road, where it was on a tight bend and invisible until you were actually passing it. Because, they told me, that is the international convention for the placing of such information.

However the man in charge promised to have a look next time he was over that way, and the signage was duly moved to where approaching vehicles could read it.

Yes, I was the noisiest squeaky wheel that got the oil.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
'Disabled Exit' is ambiguous, as is 'this exit is alarmed'.

Yes, when I see "this door is alarmed", I always think "poor door"!

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
'Disabled Exit' is ambiguous, as is 'this exit is alarmed'.

What about "This door must remain closed at all times?" Why not just brick it up, then, as clearly no-one can ever use it lawfully.
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Golden Key
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# 1468

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"Flammable" vs. "inflammable" vs. "imflammable" all mean the same thing. So I just use "flammable" and "non-flammable", to avoid confusion.

Then there's what is the first floor of a building. In the US, it's almost always the ground floor. (Unless the building is strangely constructed, e.g., adapted to a sloping plot of land.) In many other countries, the first floor is the first floor *above the ground floor*--what Americans call the second floor.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Phantom Flan Flinger
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# 8891

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quote:
Originally posted by Bob Two-Owls:
Sandemaniac, I have similar trouble sorting out Fir from Mna in Ireland. In the sense of lavatorial signage that is, I'm not saying Ireland is some kind of cross-dresser's paradise...

I always remember that "fir" rhymes with "sir".

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http://www.faith-hope-and-confusion.com/

Posts: 1020 | From: Leicester, England | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
My bête noire is decimated used to imply a massacre or near annihilation.

Decimation means the singling out (and killing) of every 10th soldier in a cohort or legion.

Historically it did. In modern colloquial English it doesn't.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ariel
Shipmate
# 58

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Let's try to stick to polar opposite misunderstandings, as per the OP. If we start getting into shades of meaning and grammatical niceties, we could be here for quite some time, rehashing some very old, frequently-run discussions. It's been quite good having something fresh to chat about.

Cheers

Ariel

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
'Disabled Exit' is ambiguous, as is 'this exit is alarmed'.

The door is alarmed, the window is just somewhat unsettled.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 11242 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Galloping Granny
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# 13814

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At our dental surgery there are clearly signposted 'Patient car parks'.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

Posts: 2629 | From: Matarangi | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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I struggle with computer buttons that switch between "stop" and "start" buttons. I tend to read them as the state the program is in rather than the state it will go into if I click on it.

Jengie

[ 23. January 2015, 16:59: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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There's something especially appropriate about clicking "Start" on a Microsoft operating system when what you want to do is shut down the computer.

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"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

Posts: 10542 | From: The Great Southwest | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gwai
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# 11076

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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
Another Pond thing I think is the use of the word "momentarily" which over here means "just for a moment" and over there means "in a moment".

For the record in theory people use these the same way here as you all do there. It's just that people use them incorrectly at lot, here at least. I think it comes from saying things like I'll pop over there momentarily and drop them off. (Where one truly intends not to stay long.)

When in Texas I rather enjoyed the use of "put up" as in if a teacher says, put that toy up, or it's mine. Of course putting it up (away) tended to involve putting it down into a desk.

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A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


Posts: 11914 | From: Chicago | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Gwai
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# 11076

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(Posted before I finished, so missed that we should avoid the grammatical sorts of discussions. Sorry!)

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A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


Posts: 11914 | From: Chicago | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Talitha
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# 5085

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quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
I always wonder about designers who choose to mark the two positions of an on/off switch with two circles: one solid (i.e. a disc) and one just a circular line. My guess is that one of them is supposed to look full and the other empty, but who's to say which is which? Or is one of them supposed to look like a light that's on and the other like one that's off? And does it matter if it's done with white paint on a dark background rather than the other way around?

As a child I used to get confused by on/off switches labelled O and I. These days I understand it as binary 0/1, but I used to think they were pictorial, and the O looks more like something that's open or shining, and the I looks more like something that's closed or dim.
Posts: 554 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Talitha
Shipmate
# 5085

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And one that I still find really unintuitive is "inside" and "outside" lanes when driving. The one that's at the outer edge of the road is called the "inside" lane. If you move towards the centre of the road to overtake, you're moving "out" to the "outside" lane, in the middle of the road. After overtaking, you're supposed to move back "in" to the "inside" lane, at the outside edge of the road.

I am able to understand and use the terms the standard way round, so I'm not going to cause a crash by misusing them; but I think they're wrong.

Posts: 554 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Latchkey Kid
Shipmate
# 12444

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When my bil was learning to use a computer he thought the computer response of Invalid Input was insulting him and would be insulting to invalids.

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

Posts: 2592 | From: The wizardest little town in Oz | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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quote:
Originally posted by Talitha:
And one that I still find really unintuitive is "inside" and "outside" lanes when driving. The one that's at the outer edge of the road is called the "inside" lane. If you move towards the centre of the road to overtake, you're moving "out" to the "outside" lane, in the middle of the road. After overtaking, you're supposed to move back "in" to the "inside" lane, at the outside edge of the road.

I am able to understand and use the terms the standard way round, so I'm not going to cause a crash by misusing them; but I think they're wrong.

Boy, that's cockamamie. Thanks for letting potential UK drivers know about this.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

Posts: 35076 | From: Pura Californiana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged



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