RE: OFFTOPIC: What is "francais hexagonal"?

From: Addison Phillips (
Date: Tue Nov 17 1998 - 19:18:09 EST

Pictograms *are* excellent internationalization... when they make
appropriate sense and are not culturally linked themselves. Common
things like postal boxes, school buses, etc. are enigmatic runes to
outsiders. For example, I am reminded of the brown and white services
signs on my recent trip to Ireland. They often contained as many as
twenty complex pictures such as a stylized "castle" meaning "site of
historical interest", or other icons for "petrol station", "food",
"school", "horse riding/equestrian", "fishing" etc. While we have
similar signs in the USA, they are more severly limited to just three
items: petrol, food and lodging. Deciphering twenty complex icons at 90
kph can be exciting...

On the other hand, I'm still struggling with understanding why all those
signs say "Traffic Calming" when what they mean to say is "Road
Narrows"... ;-)


        Addison Phillips
        Director, Technology
        SimulTrans, L.L.C.

        +1 650-526-4652 (direct telephone) (Internet email)

        "22 languages. One release date."

-----Original Message-----
From: Alain []
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 1:26 PM
To: Unicode List
Subject: Re: OFFTOPIC: What is "francais hexagonal"?

A 12:50 98-11-17 -0800, John Cowan a écrit :
>Alain wrote:
>> An example: instead of indicating "gare [de chemin de fer]" (railroad
>> station) on street panels in many cities, downtown, in France, they
>> only write "SNCF" and you're supposed to know what it means [...].
>Well, I imagine a non-anglophone here would have the same trouble with
>a sign reading "Amtrak", though there is usually a pictograph of a
>on the sign as well.

[Alain] :
A pictograph is already excellent internationalization. That is rare in
USA though. It should be encouraged everywhere and as much as possible.

No "pictogramme" for this in France.

Alain LaBonté

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