I was up in Quebec recently and I started looking at the roadsigns. I thought back to how I heard people had trouble designing a ‘danger’ sign for that nuclear waste dump they wanted to put deep in that Utah mine shaft (or whatever). After all, symbols may not involve words, but there is definitely a conceptual language behind symbols. If the waste was going to be there for thousands and thousands of years, someone coming upon it when it was still dangerous might not have the same actual language as us, or the same symbol language. They might not even be human.
I thought about this in looking at the road signs in Quebec, because though similar they definitely use a bit differently of a conceptual symbol language than I’m used to. Take this one:
I realized once I looked at it for a minute that it meant ‘no littering.’ However, my first thought was a somewhat sarcastic ‘no Popeye zone.’
After all, it’s an empty tin can. Do people really throw many of those on the roads in Quebec? Isn’t it usually drink containers and candy bar wrappers? Do most motorists in Quebec snack on cans of creamed corn while they drive?
Unlikely. Most likely this was just a deemed to be a recognizable symbol for litter even if empty tin cans aren’t actually littered very commonly. Regardless, it struck me as weird when I thought about it and the differences in a similar but still somewhat foreign conceptual symbol language. A lot of the roadsigns up there struck me as weird.
I may take a few posts to talk about this, presuming posting amuses me as much as the roadsigns did.