Thursday, August 16, 2012

Say What?!

 Communication is a huge part of our lives. How we say things and how we understand what someone is saying can lead to some pretty varied conclusions. I was thinking about this as I was putting pencil to paper to write this latest update. Obviously learning a second language can cause many moments of confusion and laughter and if we are honest, embarrassment. The grocer where we buy vegetables still gives us a hard time about wanting to buy a kilo of ladies instead of a kilo of  carrots, the one word is "cenoura" and the other is "senhora" I offered our guards a piece of "ebola" once, the word for cake is "bolo" and the word for ball is "bola" so that one just went wrong from the beginning. I guess it was my amazing smile and the piece of cake in my hand that seemed to bridge the language gap that dark night. Even when you think you are communicating things clearly it can go off the rails. For example take a look at the following signs and see if you can figure out what they mean.


I think that this first one is pretty straight forward, in my humble opinion, it means "Stop", don't continue past this point. How about the next one?

 To me this one signifies,"Do Not Enter" I may be going out on a limb with that one, to which I will blame my driver instructor at Young Drivers of Canada way back in the old days. In fact I think those were the days where you had to walk with a red flag in front of your car, but I digress. So any thoughts on the last one?

Turn left maybe? Continue to the left? Don't go to the right...possibly.

So then if we put the three together, as they were on the road in the southern part of the country, what do they mean?

How are you supposed to read this? Left to right? Stop, Do Not Enter, Turn Left? Or is right to left? Turn left, do not enter, Stop!

So what are we to conclude from this little exercise? That none of this makes any sense at all and that if you are driving in Angola watch out for large concrete barriers with yellow and black tape, they are self explanatory!

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