Intercultural Humor in English
I wanted to share with you a humorous list taken from the book, Anguished English (by Richard Lederrer). It’s a list of signs found around the world that contain funny errors in English.
I hope you’ll find it as funny as I did, and if you need an explanation on why something is funny, let me know.
Intercultural Humor in English
Here are some signs that were posted around the world. What were they really trying to say?
In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
In a Leipzig elevator: Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
In a hotel in Italy (Personal ex.): The direction is not responsible for your belongings.
In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.
In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastary: You are welcome to visit the cemetary where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.
Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s: Drop your trousers here for best results.
In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours — we guarantee no miscarriages.
In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.
In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today — no ice cream.
English sign in a German café: Mothers, please wash your hans before eating.
In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.
In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.
In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
I would love to hear about interesting or weird signs in English you’ve encountered.
Mr. Miron Abramson
Miron Abramson is the founder and senior consultant of Add-Vantage, a company that supports people and organizations with their business interactions with international partners overseas. You can visit them on the web at http://addvantage.co.il, or contact Mr. Abramson at firstname.lastname@example.org.