"When taking on an escalator ride..."

I recently read that there has been some debate over whether to standardise the pinyin system here, and how the government is giving certain counties incentives to do so. However, I do get the distinct feeling that the pinyin isn’t really the problem (anyone who has been to Hong Kong will understand completely). Shouldn’t they be working on the grammar here instead? :smiley:

 I know this has been done to death; a topic that's being constantly dragged around the forums, but my point is, why focus on standardising the pinyin system (for foreigners' benefit) when there are such huge problems with the public notices written by some poor nonse who got a gold star on his english work in year 1, and now thinks he's qualified to write his nonse-english all over Taiwan. It's not terribly important, well, at least not to me at the moment, seeing as I generally have no problem keeping my finger away from the door, and standing steadily to the right, and knowing I should go to a 'saloon' for a haircut. Although I imagine it might be a little more difficult for people with no chinese and very little English.

   What does everyone think about this? It's a largely unimportant issue, but do you think they should do a city-wide english clean-up before a pinyin one?  :wink:

Compared to Mainland, they at least seem to change the fawlty English here after somebody tells them it’s nonsense, at least in some cases. I just don’t get it why they don’t grab somebody with English mother tongue before they put up signs instead of changing them afterwards.

I loved the sentence ‘The train has been departured’ that was on the electronic display for the MRT when they set these up earlier this year. It wasn’t on for long, though (what’s on now isn’t much better, more boring, but I think grammatically correct - not that I’m the right person to judge :? ). Or why do you think they changed the ‘Drinking Water Park’ to ‘Taipei Water Park’? Looks like somebody sometimes listens to people telling him the English signs are crap.

However, I think street signs or maps with four different names for one street are much more confusing to foreigners (who don’t speak Chinese) then signs like the ‘escalator’ or the ‘train’ things are to foreigners (who don’t speak much English). Often, a foreigner with limited English might understand somebody else’s limited English better than the English of a mothertongue speaker. But when I tell my friend to go to Hsinyi Rd, and all the signs say Sinyi Rd or Shinyi Rd, he gets lost.

I’m clearly in favour of getting this sorted out first, and I’d vote for Hanyu Pinyin (simply because that’s what I learned first and what I know best) - c’mon, get at me, you tongyong supporters :wink:


I think you’re probably right Iris, it took years for Hong Kong and Singapore to standardise their English. But as you said, at least they could consult someone before engraving/printing/typing English translations… :x

Shanghai taxis always had a very useful notice on the inside of the door: “Don’t forget to take your thing”.