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Parking Propaganda

Flying Pigeon



Roddy lent me the keys to the Signese company car (a black VW Santana) and is letting me take it for a spin. While eyeing the sidewalk for a place to park, I noticed this sign.

Can I park on the sidewalk between the guy selling socks and the woman frying hotdogs? If the Signese company car was instead a cart pulled by an emaciated mule, could I still park there? Please briefly explain.

What is line 2 encouraging me to do?

Who created the sign? And where are they located?


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Nice car! Oooh, like the leather seats. Needs a DVD player, though. Humm, suspension isn't the best...

1a. The sign forbids 亂停亂放, which I would translate as "crazy parking". I'm not up-to-date on exactly how crazy the parking is in Beijing, but I'm guessing no.

1b. The prohibition applies to 車輛. I'm not sure whether 車輛 applies to non-motorized vehicles, but I'm guessing it does, so I'd guess no as well.

2. "with all your force!" keep the city traffic orderly.

3. 城市管理監察大隊 -- is that something like "city supervision group"?

Some questions

What does the 放 apply to in 亂停亂放?

I assume that the 全力 does not sound as absurd in Chinese as it does in English?

Why is 大隊 used instead of 部? 大隊 sounds more military to me, but maybe that's just me.

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How 放 differs from 停 I don't know. It's not usual for people to stick extra stuff in to get a nice round four-character phrase.

全力 I guess sounds a bit bombastic, but it doesn't particularly stand out in the context.

部 in government would be Ministry. The 大队's are the 区 level unit under the city 局, if that makes sense. You also get 支队s. I'm not sure if there's any rhyme or reason to the way the terms are used.

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Doesn't 乱停 here mean "just stop anywhere" in the sense of, say, waiting for someone, while 乱放 is more like "just park anywhere"? But yes, the main reason for this construction is presumably the Chinese affinity for four-character expressions, and the fact that 停 and 放 both end in -ng, creating the appropriate rhyme.

I agree that 全力 seems bombastic here, but almost all Chinese propaganda slogans, even for the most ordinary purposes, sound bombastic if translated word-for-word into English. Again, it's a characteristic of the language.

(The phrase 乱停乱放 appears on a different sign posted 2 Apr 10 over on the old signese.com site.)

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