You can't get there from here

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/05/10 14:01 -04:00, original URI:

For the 'I laugh so I will not cry' file:

Over in The Language Log, Bill Poser reports in LOST IN TRANSLATION about an interesting step that the government of Gaeltacht in Ireland (a region where Irish is still common) has taken to help assure the continuing use of Irish -- they have taken down bilingual (Irish/English) road signs and replaced them with monolingual Irish ones. The stories of tourist unable to find sites due to the wide variation between English and Irish names for streets sounds funny until you imagine being in the situation; it then becomes a little scary!

The things we do to try to preserve languages that are endangered (no matter what it does to those who are going about the simple business of living....

# Maurits [MSFT] on 10 May 2005 2:44 PM:

I think place names are unique in that there shouldn't be localized versions of them at all - Los Angeles should be called Los Angeles by English-speaking people as well as Spanish-speaking. It would be confusing if half of the residents referred to it as "The Angels." Especially so for street signs.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 10 May 2005 2:56 PM:

I believe it has more to do with street names -- if a street was named Elm or Spruce in English, it is easy to imagine it getting a localized name in another language.

And beyond that, both city and country names are often localized anyway, and they only resemble the original if the language is one that would have such a resemblance....

# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 May 2005 10:25 PM:

For examples of the above, just ask for the LOCALE_SLANGUAGE or LOCALE_SCOUNTRY on any localized Windows SKU. And I know cities are in the same category as languages/countries/regions....

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referenced by

2008/02/13 Canada isn't Kannada, ay (ಎ)?

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