It’s English, but not as we know it.

14 November 2009

They say that travel broadens the mind.  Well it certainly introduces me to some beautiful uses of English.  Wherever I go I find English that is perfect in every way but just not quite right. 

On this trip, I came across a sign attached to the back of the driver’s seat on the airport bus in Hong Kong which said “Beware of your hands”.  I’ve lived with my hands for over 50 years and they’ve never done me any harm yet, but who knows?

Then on another airport bus, this time in Tokyo – “Please tell the driver if you see a suspicious thing”.    I’m not sure what a suspicious thing looks like, but I’ll be sure to inform someone should I come across one.

And the Finnair pre-flight safety video tells me “If you wish to sleep during the flight, please remain seated”.  As opposed to?  Curling up in the aisle?  Climbing into the overhead lockers?

Maybe I’m just a pedant.  OK, I admit it.  I’m a pedant.  But I’m a well-travelled one.


  1. I imagine that there are people who would try and curl up on the floor on airplanes. But I’m surprised that they need to a sign to warn them not to do it – surely that’s what cabin staff are for?

  2. I have a friend who works as a translator for some large manufacturing firms in Taiwan. He submits his translations into ‘English as we speak it’ but often gets told his translations aren’t right and they who know better change it all back to Chinglish!! Now, that’s why all those instructions books often don’t make sense!!

  3. Home again, home again, jiggety jig – glad you’re safe back with David and the cat, and all your friends in Sydney. Have a happy, relaxed time, if you can!

  4. Glad that you (and your posts) are back!

  5. Highly amusing to one who shares the finer points of English vocabulary and grammar for a living!

    Welcome home!

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