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Note to the Neighbors


Flying Pigeon

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Technically it's not a sign, but it was taped on the wall in the hallway near my neighbor's door.

The story goes something like this: Neighbor A wrote Neighbor B a note and taped it on their door . . .

1. What is Neighbor A asking Neighbor B to do?

2. What is Neighbor A and his/her family doing at the time the note was written?

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Glen, yep. Nice one! You should be receiving your prize (a Hawthorne berry popsicle) in the mail soon.

889, nope. My neighbors are Chinese.

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Ha, I read it right to left! I was wondering what they were thanking them for! :oops:

Incidentally that also explains the order of the questions. I was wondering why they seemed to be out of order. haha

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Yeah, but the way I read it was "Thank you. We're taking a nap. Please keep your voices down." That's why I was confused. I thought it was weird that "thank you" would come first.

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I read it from left to right: "Please keep the noise down, we're having a siesta, thanks." Therefore the order of the questions appear bass ackwards.

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Very obviously the note is to be read vertically from left to right.

But I think, most properly educated people would read it from right to left, as this is the way it should be and is the standard of millions of books printed in Taiwan and Hong Kong (sadly most HK books now use horizontal formats), and was also how books used to be in Mainland China in the past. But for people who are not trained to read or write vertically, writing it from left to right might seem proper enough.

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I'm just so used to reading vertical writing from right to left, that even when things are written vertically in English I read them right to left until I realize it doesn't make any sense. In the case of the sign, though, I think it seemed OK enough in that order, although the "thanks" was weird, AND I was having to concentrate on the phrasing and getting the meaning because I'm still learning Chinese. That kind of distracted me from feeling too weird about it, I think.

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even when things are written vertically in English I read them right to left until I realize it doesn't make any sense.

English written vertically? Like what?

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It's pretty uncommon and informal, and usually just someone writing a little note to a friend or as a joke. For instance, I used to work in a restaurant where sometimes one of the sous chefs would write the specials on the board vertically, and I always read it from right to left. As far as I can remember it never occurs in anything official. I can't even remember the last time I've seen it, to be honest, but I do remember the confusion part of the experiences.

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