The Things That Go Wrong with English as a Second Language


The website for NBC's Today Show is currently featuring strange and amusing road signs. Two in particular caught my eye.


One comes from near Sanjay's home in Bangalore. It is a billboard advertisement for Nandi Aqua selling "packaged drinking water." The slogan reads "Now water with H20". (The slogan is also used in the browser heading for the company's website at It makes you wonder what was in the water before they added the water.


The other is from a road sign not too far from Tolley. Strangely, the sign made sense when I saw it in person, but it is still kind of silly. Avoiding words, it uses a pictogram to illustrate falling rocks. But it also includes a cow falling as well. Have cows regularly fallen from the hillside to the roadway? Wouldn't a fence solve this problem? No wonder much of the rest of the United States does not believe that New Mexico is actually a state.


Fifty years ago, Art Linkletter had a TV show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things". Perhaps we can expand that to advertising executives and highway engineers.


I thought the community might be amused.

edited Sep 03 '12 at 04:30 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Couldn't find it. Do you have a link?

TolleySep 03 '12 at 00:55

It's a long URL -- hope you find it.

Jeff PribylSep 03 '12 at 04:29

Those are some great signs.

Lewis NeidhardtSep 03 '12 at 16:01

Jeff, a lot of the land in Texas, NM, and Arizona is 'open range.' It's so dry and infertile that it takes many acres to provide range for each cow. Fencing this area would be prohibitively expensive, so the cows just wander about, grazing on the sparse vegetation, wishing they could be as happy as their California cousins in those TV commercials.

Lewis NeidhardtSep 03 '12 at 17:07

I know. My sister lived in Santa Fe for 15 years. But then New Mexico DOT puts up miles of fencing near the pueblos to keep drunk drivers from wandering onto or off the freeways. You'd think a couple hundred feet of fence at the top of a roadside cliff would be worth it to keep a cow (or if it were a whole herd, the kine) from falling on my windshield. Much of California is open range too. But our traffic signs use a cute, leaping Bambi to warn us, not an upside down, helpless dairy cow. Should we alert PETA to the cruel conditions cattle are subjected to in the Southwest. I mean, Lewis, think about it. Does Tyson allow its "free range" chickens to wander across Arkansas' highways to visit the local Sam's Club? (Why am I now reminded of the turkey giveaway on an episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati"? -- see ).

Jeff PribylSep 03 '12 at 18:03

I loved the splats of the turkeys from Les Nesman's scheme. Tyson - free range? Ha. They come out of long broiler houses with either 13K or 26K (double wide) chickens. 5 or 6 six weeks from day old to cellophane ready thanks to 24 hour lights, hormones, and 10-A-Day vitamins. Those things do wonders for the water table. Luckily, my weekends at farmer's markets puts me in touch with, well, farmers, so I can get good poultry. Around here, the cows that fall on our cars are from tornadoes, a la The Wizard of Oz. I'm surprised there are still open ranges in CA. Seems like everything would have been fenced and cross fenced by now.

Lewis NeidhardtSep 03 '12 at 18:43

That part of New Mexico is interesting because of the way roads were cut through the land. Knowing that sign is near Taos probably would have elicited a laugh rather than a threat to call PETA. Gotta watch that pueblo fencing and the drunk drivers, though. That's our backward method of keeping people from moving here so we keep the population down. It has nothing to do with federal funding of sovereign status for pueblos or open range grazing laws. Such logic would be foolish.

TolleySep 03 '12 at 19:25

Just poking fun at New Mexico, an art I learned jousting with my sister. I've spent a lot of time hiking and camping in the northern part of the state. I find the open range to be beautiful. My sister's German Shepherd really appreciates the lack of fences. Of course, she believes that it is her duty to single-handedly eliminate from New Mexico all jack rabbits she might see. (We did teach her early that catching is not okay, but she still can't resist the chase if she's not working -- dog and sister used to volunteer with the Santa Fe County Sheriff's search and rescure team.)

Jeff PribylSep 04 '12 at 00:34

My hounds live for the search of rabbits and squirrels, and then they compete to see who can tree the critter the quickest. My Blue Tick has the nose and his brother has the eyes--more shepherd in him. I am pretty sure they claim in their evening dog bragging groups that they treed an elk or an elephant. They always come home laughing. Such is the life of an open range dog.

TolleySep 04 '12 at 01:14

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