Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Transport and diversions from that

So a few word differences relating to roads today. Firstly, the title, "transport". I rarely hear the word "transportation" used, it's always transport - Ministry of Transport, transport issues, etc.

Walking through the town centre the other day (not the "downtown" as I would call it), I saw a road sign saying "Diversion". In Canada, the sign would read "Detour". I find the Diversion signs amusing still; to me it's like the road works people don't want you to notice that they've closed some streets, saying "Look! Over there!" Either that, or if you follow the diversion you'll end up having a pleasant day occupied by doing things that you hadn't intended to do at the start.

Another sign I saw on my walk: "Humps". Those are speed bumps.

Yield signs look the same, but have "Give way" written on them.

The curb on the side of the road is written "kerb". The "pavement" is the sidewalk, sometimes referred to as the path. What I would call pavement, i.e. the surface that the road is made up of, I've generally heard called tarmac.

When I was in Argyll, pretty much all the guys would refer to their cars as their "motors" (and said with the accent of the region where the "t" is barely said in the back of the throat (a glottal stop?), it comes out like "mo-er"). It then seems logical that the highways are always referred to as "motorways".

If you have a motorway that is divided, i.e. some barrier between opposing directions of traffic, then it becomes a "dual carriageway". The carriage bit seems to me to be old-fashioned sounding, and I imagine carriages and horses zooming along at 70mph. Or horseless carriages, as those new fangled things are these days.

Another old-fashioned word - the electrical or telephone poles along the side of the road I've heard called "telegraph poles". This was by young people who would not mind the days of the telgraph either. "Pylons" gets used as well, they're not the little orange cones. Towers for cell phones get called "masts".

Continuing on the old-fashioned note, and completely unrelated to the road, is saying you're "going to the pictures" for going to the movies. I heard that first from a fellow my age and was teasing him about whether it was a "talkie" or not.

1 comment:

Anthony Dyer said...

There's a road sign in Norway that says "Fart Kontrol" (speed control). That makes everyone laugh.