Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Random thought

This morning in the bus I saw this image with an "80 m" sign underneath, and my first thought was "Lichtzeichenanlage in 80 m Entfernung".

My next thought was how much like a civil servant I was speaking—I don't think many Germans would say "Lichtzeichenanlage" (light signal installation) but would simply call the thing an "Ampel" (traffic light). "Lichtzeichenanlage", while being the formal name of the sign and, presumably, of the device, is "bureaucratese": a dialect marked especially by Germanisms rather than loanwords (another common one is "Fernsprecher" (far-speaker) instead of the more usual "Telefon").

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