Notices

I saw the following notice in the London Borough of Hounslow:

DANGER
UNFENCED WATER
CHILDREN SHOULD
BE ACCOMPANIED

I don’t know how it seems to you, but I think it would have been easier to say “All water children should be fenced”.

This borough also had a sign saying “DANGER: River”. Very true, but I looked in vain for a notices saying “DANGER: Road” or “DANGER: Junk food outlet” or …

But it is not only Hounslow. In the borough of Richmond, there is a puzzling sign saying, “This gate will be closed half an hour before closing time”.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
This entry was posted in geography. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Notices

  1. Colin Reid says:

    Have you seen the blog Language Log?

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/

    It’s full of this kind of observation about the use of language in the modern world. I think they call the kind of ambiguity you are describing a ‘crash blossom’:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1693

    Colin

  2. It seems that Greenwich follows a similar policy to Richmond: this once caused me to get locked in a park in Woolwich.

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