Thursday, May 27, 2010

Signs and Phrases

Have you ever noticed when you push the button on a stoplight it either tells you to walk or don't walk depending on the traffic? I'm so confused at what to do. I wish I could walk when the sign tells me to. Sometimes they have the little guy with 1 foot forward turn white when you can walk and the little guy standing still or a hand turn red when you can't walk. I wonder what people would think if it was the wheelchair symbol turning white or if it said roll/don't roll. It would be kind of interesting. Maybe there should be both. I've seen one sign where they have the little guy and a bicycle symbol. They could just considers saying cross/don't cross instead.

There are some phrases and words that I would say that I notice to be different from what I'm actually doing. One example would be "going for a walk." Anytime I'm going to go or have gone around the neighborhood or on the trail I say "I'm going for a roll" or "I went for a roll" because I'm not actually going to be walking. Even though "going for a walk" is a general universal phrase, I can't help but to laugh when I say it because if you look at it literally it's not true. Also, when I say I'm going downstairs or upstairs. I'm not actually going down the stairs or up the stairs I'm going in the elevator.

This is a little different from the above, but I do love hearing people use metaphors when talking about going places. My mom's favorite phrase is "I'm going to run to the store" I always wondered how long that would take if she actually ran. My aunt always says "okay I got a fly". I figure she's not actually going to fly to where she's going, that would be way too expensive.

I know it is okay for me to say phrases that everybody is used to and understands even if I'm not doing exactly that. I'm definitely not offended by these phrases or signs. This is what people are used to. It just makes me laugh and ponder when I see or hear them. Can you think of any other things that are similar to this?



Matthew Smith said...

Hi there,

Here in the UK it's all pictures, i.e. the red man standing and green man walking. The green man also flashes, meaning the lights are about to change back again, so you don't start to cross while the green man is flashing. I'm not sure how well it would work to use wheelchair pictures - people on foot might think that was not for them, as when the image was of a bike.

We use all sorts of language like that and it implies that we have the faculties referred to. We say that we spoke to someone, when we really mean that we exchanged emails or IMs, and I've heard someone recently talk of her daughter "speaking" to her when in fact she couldn't speak, and used sign language.

Also, we say "nice to see you" to mean "meet you", and even blind people would use that expression. It's often sighted people who find that funny, and say things like "I thought you said you were blind".

Jackie said...

The one that makes me smile since I work with blind/visually impared people, is 'see you later'. Especially when said by my client. It's just a commonly used phrase that is not intended to be taken literally, but it still makes me think.

Rai said...

I've noticed that along some of the really populated places along the east coast they have crossing signs that display the crossing man and also display the number of seconds left(counts from 20 i believe) until the no crossing sign appears. kinda nifty