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View Full Version : Why do stop signs ALWAYS say "STOP"


Jman
10-18-2000, 08:35 PM
In other countries, I mean. The only place I've encountered that has lots of roads that has the STOP in a different language is in Quebec, where they properly say "Arret" (with the accent or something). However, in every European country myself and my girlfriend have been to (about 12), they ALL say "STOP." Why not "Arret" in France? Or whatever language the country speaks. They say "stop" in Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, etc....why?? They look identical to the stop signs in the US. Odd. I could understand in Germany since the word is the same...but not the rest.

Jman

woolly
10-18-2000, 09:02 PM
The fact that you recognised them as stop signs, despite probably not speaking the local language, would probably be the best indication of both the why and the wisdom of this convention. :)

ignoscop
10-18-2000, 09:02 PM
They used to say Arret in France, they changed over in the late 60's, when the other signs got standardized.

I guess they thought a wordless sign too subtle.

As to needing to be in your own language, not necessarily.
We could get along the first day with Halt. And how long would it take you to figure out Arret? I caught on the first corner I turned in France, coming out of the rental lot. Not a bad learning curve.

Garfield226
10-18-2000, 09:08 PM
I caught on the first corner I turned in France, coming out of the rental lot. Not a bad learning curve.

corner you turned. . .not. . .bad. . .CURVE. . . AHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!

TheBori
10-18-2000, 09:24 PM
When I was in Russia I was surprised to see red octagonal signs with the Cyrillic (sp?) letters CTO{pi} pronounced...you guessed it...STOP. It set me back. Here was a sign that, at first glance was unpronounceable to me but turned out to be a good ol' stop sign. Very interesting.

Rysdad
10-18-2000, 09:27 PM
Why do stop signs ALWAYS say "STOP"?

Because if they said "TEATS" there would be alot of accidents.

omni-not
10-18-2000, 09:29 PM
Well, believe it or not, the word "arręt" is incorrect and treated as a regionalism (i.e. Quebec) by the supreme powers of linguistic good taste (residing in France). The correct term, in French, is...STOP. French is my mother tongue and, to this day, this remains a mystery to me.

A universal, wordless, red octogonal sign would, in my opinion, be the most logical solution. This "form" undoubtedly ranks as one of the most recognizable in the world today.

Renton_lvr
10-18-2000, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by Jman
The only place I've encountered that has lots of roads that has the STOP in a different language is in Quebec, where they properly say "Arret" (with the accent or something

Actually there are some areas here in Montreal where the signs say Stop and some that are bilingual as well as the unilingual French ones. There has been much debate over the issue in past years because it is known that it is pretty standard to have STOP even in countries like France but having it say STOP contradicts Bills 101 and 178. I really think the fact that most stop signs in Quebec are French has to do with rampant Anglophobia.

bibliophage
10-18-2000, 09:48 PM
The French word stop is derived from the English word, according to my Petit Larousse. The word for "stop sign" in German is "Stoppschild", but I was under the impression that the signs themselves said "Halt" in Germany. (But I've never been there, so I couldn't really say.)

sailor
10-18-2000, 10:10 PM
I think the road signs are adopted by some international convention and mostly have no words. The Stop sign says stop by international convention.

It seems there are a few people out there who consider collecting photos of international road signs is worth their time and effort. Check out:
http://geog.okstate.edu/users/lightfoot/stop/stop.htm
http://members.aol.com/rcmoeur/r1.html
http://raspbrry.demon.co.uk/roadsigns/gallery.html
http://ips.be/_wbm/rcoulst.htm

RESOL
10-18-2000, 10:37 PM
The USA is the worlds largest Stop Sign producer cornering 95% percent of the market. Since English stop signs are stock they are cheeper, other languges require a set up fee and a custom printing fee, so many countries just order the STOP to save some money

dtilque
10-18-2000, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by RESOL
The USA is the worlds largest Stop Sign producer cornering 95% percent of the market.
No doubt because the US is also the biggest consumer of stop signs. From what I understand, something like half of all stop signs are in the US. Partly for that reason, it's the only sign that they took unchanged from the US when they standardized international signs.

Alessan
10-18-2000, 11:31 PM
For the record, Israeli stop signs don't have anything written on them. Just a big, white hand.

sailor
10-18-2000, 11:43 PM
if someone is implying the Stop signs are exported from the US, I hope it is with tongue firmly placed in cheek.

International signs are divided by categories: triangular, round, etc. and have no words. The US has its own system with words in English. The old international stop sign was a triangle but it was then considered the stop sign was important enough to deserve a category of its own and the American sign was adopted internationally.

The US has made a faint effort towards adopting the international signs, sometimes adding words, like the wrong way sign.

Fear Itself
10-19-2000, 12:26 AM
if someone is implying the Stop signs are exported from the US, I hope it is with tongue firmly placed in cheek.
As a matter of fact, Stop signs were exported from the U.S. to Mexico in the 60's by a large corporation, free of charge. All the signs in Tijuana said "Alto" on the front, and "Pepsi" on the back.

Drum God
10-19-2000, 08:24 AM
Dang it, Fear beat me to it. I was going to mention that stop signs in Mexico say ALTO.

Montfort
10-20-2000, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by Renton_lvr
I really think the fact that most stop signs in Quebec are French has to do with rampant Anglophobia.
Yup, that's why. I believe it was the Francophone Police in the 1970s that made that change.

zzcool
12-26-2010, 03:05 AM
in sweden the word stop means stop it's the same word

Alessan
12-26-2010, 05:10 AM
Stop signs can also be used to bludgen zombies.

Koxinga
12-26-2010, 06:59 AM
For the record, Israeli stop signs don't have anything written on them. Just a big, white hand.

Sounds to me like they're pledging fealty to Saruman.

TokyoBayer
12-26-2010, 07:05 AM
Japanese stop signs don't use English and are triangular.

Alessan
12-26-2010, 07:06 AM
Sounds to me like they're pledging fealty to Saruman.

Hmm (http://msc.walla.co.il/archive/140792-5.jpg). Maybe you're right.

Mops
12-26-2010, 07:17 AM
The French word stop is derived from the English word, according to my Petit Larousse. The word for "stop sign" in German is "Stoppschild", but I was under the impression that the signs themselves said "Halt" in Germany. (But I've never been there, so I couldn't really say.)

Nope, they say STOP. (and it is my impression that 'Stop' is not perceived as a foreign-language word. We also use 'stoppen' as a verb.)

Musicat
12-26-2010, 07:25 AM
Zombie crossing. STOP.

Desert Nomad
12-26-2010, 07:37 AM
In much of the Mid East the signs are red octagons with Arabic writing:

قف

It is also usually in English as well on the same sign.

John DiFool
12-26-2010, 08:55 AM
I am amused that Alessan posted both today and a decade ago in this thread, and someone today quoted one of his older messages.

Reminder to self: whenever I have a chance to go to Israel I'll bring along a bunch of large Saruman stickers...

Hypnagogic Jerk
12-26-2010, 10:09 AM
This is a zombie thread, but the answer to the OP is, of course, that many countries use stop signs with something else than "STOP" written on them. The red octogon is an international standard, but what is written on it can be "STOP" or can be a phrase in the local language.

The usage does not even have to be consistent: see stop signs in Cree (http://incolor.inebraska.com/twotaildog/bdt/BDT_07_15_12_cree_sign.JPG), Cree and English (http://francisvachon.photoshelter.com/image/I0000KowQ8Q56lQM), French and Cree (http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6186370&postcount=14), and English, Cree and French (http://francisvachon.photoshelter.com/image?&_bqG=32&_bqH=eJwrTgzzMStxCjAOj3IvDnQvKzar8PHNLnQ3Myy2MjK0tDI1sDI0AAIrz3iXYGfb4sz0PDUwM97Rz8W2BMgODXYNivd0sQ0 FKUuJSC.xNCpLMwtOV4t3dA6xLU5NLErOAAA0Qh8U&GI_ID=). (Note that even the Cree text itself doesn't seem consistent, but since I don't read Cree, I can't say for sure.)

Does any place outside Canada use those "no stopping" signs, a black octogon inside a red circle (second sign on this page (http://cambridge.ca/transportation_public_works/engineering_services_division/parking_bylaws))? I know American road signs are usually more verbose than Canadian ones which rely more on symbols, but perhaps it is used in other countries.

salinqmind
12-26-2010, 11:07 AM
There are red and white stop signs on the corners of the village where I grew up. In addition, there is a little sign underneath, also red and white, that expounds upon this: "this means you". They actually make stop signs like this, for the bone-headed, I guess.

stpauler
12-26-2010, 11:22 AM
I've got a picture from my road trip in Peru with a stop sign in Spanish that says "Pare".

FluffyBob
12-26-2010, 11:30 AM
Alessan that is awesome. Sort of a temporal hat trick.

Sunspace
12-26-2010, 12:01 PM
A wide variety of stop signs. (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stop)The usage does not even have to be consistent: see stop signs in Cree (http://incolor.inebraska.com/twotaildog/bdt/BDT_07_15_12_cree_sign.JPG), Cree and English (http://francisvachon.photoshelter.com/image/I0000KowQ8Q56lQM), French and Cree (http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6186370&postcount=14), and English, Cree and French (http://francisvachon.photoshelter.com/image?&_bqG=32&_bqH=eJwrTgzzMStxCjAOj3IvDnQvKzar8PHNLnQ3Myy2MjK0tDI1sDI0AAIrz3iXYGfb4sz0PDUwM97Rz8W2BMgODXYNivd0sQ0 FKUuJSC.xNCpLMwtOV4t3dA6xLU5NLErOAAA0Qh8U&GI_ID=). (Note that even the Cree text itself doesn't seem consistent, but since I don't read Cree, I can't say for sure.)There seem to be three different spellings on the Cree signs.Does any place outside Canada use those "no stopping" signs, a black octogon inside a red circle (second sign on this page (http://cambridge.ca/transportation_public_works/engineering_services_division/parking_bylaws))? I know American road signs are usually more verbose than Canadian ones which rely more on symbols, but perhaps it is used in other countries.

Alessan
12-26-2010, 12:04 PM
It's like I have a direct line to myself of ten years ago.

Hey, Alessan of 2000! Buy Google stock! Don't hold your breath for the next George R.R. Martin book!

elfkin477
12-26-2010, 01:45 PM
Zombie crossing. STOP.

No, no, Zombie Crossing signs are always yellow (http://google.com/images?q=zombie+crossing+sign&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=lnms&tbs=isch:1&ei=_JoXTdPHN4K78gav6Zm3Dg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&sqi=2&ved=0CA0Q_AU&biw=1127&bih=545), not red.

CookingWithGas
12-26-2010, 02:54 PM
I think the road signs are adopted by some international convention and mostly have no words. The Stop sign says stop by international convention.

It seems there are a few people out there who consider collecting photos of international road signs is worth their time and effort. Check out:
http://geog.okstate.edu/users/lightfoot/stop/stop.htm
http://members.aol.com/rcmoeur/r1.html
http://raspbrry.demon.co.uk/roadsigns/gallery.html
http://ips.be/_wbm/rcoulst.htmNone of those links resolved. They give me either 404 errors or generic pages from the host.

stpauler
12-26-2010, 03:13 PM
None of those links resolved. They give me either 404 errors or generic pages from the host.

Psst, look at the date they posted.

Hari Seldon
12-26-2010, 03:49 PM
Actually there are some areas here in Montreal where the signs say Stop and some that are bilingual as well as the unilingual French ones. There has been much debate over the issue in past years because it is known that it is pretty standard to have STOP even in countries like France but having it say STOP contradicts Bills 101 and 178. I really think the fact that most stop signs in Quebec are French has to do with rampant Anglophobia.

It actually contradicts no law since, odd as that seems, "stop" is a word that English borrowed from French. It became close to, but not quite, obsolete in French. Ultimately it does come from Latin and not any Germanic tongue. In my suburb, all the stop signs say "stop".

CookingWithGas
12-26-2010, 04:04 PM
Psst, look at the date they posted.Oh shit, run over by a speeding zombie. :smack:

Waffle Decider
12-26-2010, 08:51 PM
Stop signs in Hong Kong ('http://td.gov.hk/en/road_safety/road_users_code/index/chapter_8_the_language_of_the_road/signs_giving_orders_/index.html') are also bilingual.

Beware of Doug
12-26-2010, 09:31 PM
Another thing people don't know: Until 1954, stop signs were yellow (http://myparkingsign.com/MPS/article_History-of-Stop-Sign.aspx). Except in California (http://flickr.com/photos/mr38/3102084376/).

Darth Panda
12-26-2010, 09:42 PM
Sounds to me like they're pledging fealty to Saruman.

Every day, I feel like I know less and less about Judaism...

BigT
12-26-2010, 11:00 PM
Every day, I feel like I know less and less about Judaism...

At least it's not the antisemitic branch that worships Haman.

BellRungBookShut-CandleSnuffed
12-26-2010, 11:28 PM
Japanese stop signs don't use English and are triangular.

They are red and white, though.

GiantRat
12-27-2010, 07:25 PM
In Peru, they say "ALTO"

Derleth
12-27-2010, 07:40 PM
At least it's not the antisemitic branch that worships Haman.Does the Semitic branch worship Eggs?

(The initial vowel is conjectural; the true tetrovammation is spelt alef gimel gimel schlemiel, and may represent the clothes-staining ability of egg-based dishes.)

stpauler
12-27-2010, 08:21 PM
In Peru, they say "ALTO"

Actually, the ones I saw (as I mentioned above) say Pare. Here's a picture of one just en route to Colca Canyon. (http://img191.imageshack.us/i/peru956.jpg/)

Mahaloth
12-27-2010, 10:42 PM
Here is a stop sign in China, which contains no English.

Stop in Chinese (http://friedmanarchives.com/China/Web/Chapter23/Stop%20Sign%204x6%2072%20dpi.jpg)

foolsguinea
12-28-2010, 01:11 AM
It actually contradicts no law since, odd as that seems, "stop" is a word that English borrowed from French. It became close to, but not quite, obsolete in French. Ultimately it does come from Latin and not any Germanic tongue. In my suburb, all the stop signs say "stop".On Trantor?

Raguleader
12-28-2010, 04:26 AM
Here is a stop sign in China, which contains no English.

Stop in Chinese (http://friedmanarchives.com/China/Web/Chapter23/Stop%20Sign%204x6%2072%20dpi.jpg)

Lol, I wonder how they say "stop" in Chinese? "TING!" or something like it I bet.

On an unrelated note, I always thought it odd that stop signs in Mexico say "TALL!" Eventually it occured to me that it might be related to the word "Halt"

GiantRat
12-28-2010, 05:29 AM
Actually, the ones I saw (as I mentioned above) say Pare. Here's a picture of one just en route to Colca Canyon. (http://img191.imageshack.us/i/peru956.jpg/)

Yeah, I've seen those, too. Slipped my mind.

Dammit, Peru, should I "alto" or "pare" - yeesh!

Colophon
12-28-2010, 06:14 AM
In the UK, stop signs are something of a rarity. They do exist, but we're more into giving way (http://youthworkinternational.com/custom/Give%20way.JPG) than outright stopping.

Schnitte
12-28-2010, 10:51 AM
Nope, they say STOP. (and it is my impression that 'Stop' is not perceived as a foreign-language word. We also use 'stoppen' as a verb.)

They say STOP indeed. Incidentally, this used to be the correct German spelling of the word (if used as an imperative) until the 1990s spelling reform, the new rules of which would require the one-word imperative of "stoppen" to be spelt with a double P: STOPP. Luckily they haven't bothered to change the signs.

Shot From Guns
12-28-2010, 11:05 AM
Japanese stop signs don't use English and are triangular.

I also remember that it was not uncommon to see 止まれ (tomare, an imperative form of the verb tomaru, "to stop") painted on the street (http://google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&tbs=isch:1&aq=f&aqi=g1g-m1&oq=&gs_rfai=&q=%E6%AD%A2%E3%81%BE%E3%82%8C).

Lol, I wonder how they say "stop" in Chinese? "TING!" or something like it I bet.

Well that's not remotely racist at all. :dubious:

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
12-28-2010, 11:59 AM
In Istanbul, the stop signs said "DUR".

Alessan
12-28-2010, 12:00 PM
In the UK, stop signs are something of a rarity. They do exist, but we're more into giving way (http://youthworkinternational.com/custom/Give%20way.JPG) than outright stopping.

Well, you're British. "After you, sir!" "No, no, I insist! After you."

Inigo Montoya
12-28-2010, 03:06 PM
Here is a stop sign in China, which contains no English.Huh. What's the writing on it say?

Raguleader
12-28-2010, 03:23 PM
Well that's not remotely racist at all. :dubious:

Sorry, just a language joke of questionable humor. The Chinese word for "Stop" really is "Ting"

Shot From Guns
12-28-2010, 04:07 PM
Ah, consider me whooshed, then. :D

njtt
12-28-2010, 05:25 PM
In the UK, stop signs are something of a rarity. They do exist, but we're more into giving way (http://youthworkinternational.com/custom/Give%20way.JPG) than outright stopping.

Well, the "Give Way" sign in the UK is, surely, more equivalent to American "Yield" sign (also a downward pointing triangle).

It seems to me that, once upon a time, British STOP signs used to say "HALT". Does anyone else remember this (or know when it stopped)?

Jman
01-18-2011, 07:05 AM
Cool to see one of my threads zombified. Not sure if one has been brought back to life before. Seems like all of Europe is standardized. At least, after living there for 3 years (after this thread was made), I never saw one that said anything other than Stop.

Colophon
01-18-2011, 08:31 AM
Well, the "Give Way" sign in the UK is, surely, more equivalent to American "Yield" sign (also a downward pointing triangle).[quote]
Yes, but they are used in places where the US would use stop signs. I can't think of a single junction near where I live that has stop signs - they are either traffic-light controlled or simply "give way". Of course, many junctions in the UK are turned into roundabouts, where giving way is implicit.

[quote]It seems to me that, once upon a time, British STOP signs used to say "HALT". Does anyone else remember this (or know when it stopped)?
Originally it was the rather wordy HALT AT MAJOR ROAD AHEAD (pic of restored example here (http://fingerpostsigns.com/vintage-halt-at-major-road-ahead-sign.php)).

The new signs were brought in in 1964 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_signs_in_the_United_Kingdom).

rayman5321
01-18-2011, 08:45 AM
I visit friends in Budapest frequently. They say STOP is a really old Hungarian word. :)

drastic_quench
01-18-2011, 09:29 AM
Check out the stop sign designed by committee (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wac3aGn5twc).

Waffle Decider
01-18-2011, 08:16 PM
Check out the stop sign designed by committee (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wac3aGn5twc).

That's awesome! Also frighteningly realistic...

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