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Signese

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7 Comments


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I always think of drugs when I hear that word. Cough, cough. From watching TV and movies, of course.

So maybe no bongs or crack pipes allowed in the park?

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If you google the title of this blog you will find some web pages discussing this sign. The general view seems to be that the English version is problematic.

Some blogs say that the authorities have proposed “No unattended articles allowed” as replacement (I think it is ok, though less concise). That was back in 2007. But I took the picture yesterday so apparently "No paraphernalia" is still in use.

I think the word is not common (it is a public notice so the language should be simple), and misleading (as Dean interprets it). But perhaps the English version is there simply because there is a requirement for such things to be bilingual. The target readers of the notice probably cannot read English so the authorities don't really care if it is right.

I have consulted a professional translator (Chinese <-> English) working in the Hong Kong Government about this. His reply is "個人意見 (and I was like :P ),艱澀的字用了沒人懂,不該用".

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The sign is useful because it taught me how to spell paraphernalia. I spell it the way I pronounce it, "paraphanalia".

No "No sleeping on the benches" warning? A grumpy policewoman yelled at me once for reclining on a park bench. Can't remember which park.

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You can find a "no lying on benches" sign here.

The sign means to tell people not to put their own belongings, such as the blankets/pillows/clothing of the homeless and equipment/goods of nearby shops/hawkers, in public places, I think.

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Funny sign. I too only associate "paraphernalia" with drug use, and I too can't spell it correctly without assistance.

"No unattended articles allowed” seems different, to me, than "not to put their own belongings, such as the blankets/pillows/clothing of the homeless and equipment/goods of nearby shops/hawkers, in public places". If the hawkers are with the stuff they are selling, is that allowed by the (Chinese) sign?

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The sign does not specifically disallow that. An additional notice of "嚴禁擺賣 / No hawking" would serve that purpose. Something like this.

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