Monday, August 25, 2008


I snapped the above pic at the Canadian border crossing on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, Canada (Saturday, Aug 23) while heading up to Toronto to enjoy the cool Buskerfest (sorry, you missed it, but there's always next year). While not obvious at first from this cell phone camera's photo, look closely and you'll notice that the French word 'arrêt' looks slightly off-center. That's because it originally read 'arrête', but someone put red tape over the final 'e'. I'm assuming that final '-e' was the French imperative morpheme for -er verbs occuring with the (implied) second person singular informal pronoun tu. I could be wrong. Feel free to correct me. But the letter 'e' undeniably was originally there for some reason. Was it the informality of tu that someone objected to?

Any French speakers out there? Is there some reason why it would be "wrong" to use this imperative morpheme on a stop sign? I found an image of another English-French bilingual stop sign on Wolfgang Meyenberg's cool little site here and indeed, it uses the 'arrêt' form.

As for the Buskerfest, well, that just rocked.


Q. Pheevr said...

If you are interested in the linguistics and anthropology of bilingual stop signs in Canada, I can do no better than to refer you to Stop: Toutes Directions.

Chris said...

Excellent link! Very interesting work being done. I'll read a couple of the reports too. Thanks!

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