Respect Please!


This is a sign from near Lake Zurich. The lawn/field was covered with beautiful crocuses. Lovely, just gorgeous on this spring afternoon. But notice anything about the sign? One of two things was true when the city of Zurich decided on this wording:

  1. This is a heavily touristed city. 25% of the people who live here are foreigners. Maybe we better use something other than German and English is the most common second language, the lingua franca if you will.
  2. “Only a clumsy, dimwitted American would trample into a field of flowers… or maybe an obnoxious Brit or two. Better make the sign in English”

This reminds me of the time we were at the zoo. All the signs are in German of course. Except there is one sign in the waterfowl preserve which asks visitors to be quiet… written in English of course. My friend, who is a fluent German-speaker pointed out the sign. A Swiss woman walked by and said, in German “well of course they only need it in English”. Wonderful moment. I dropped litter in her cart as she walked by.


Okay I didn’t, but I wished I had.