Mouseneb (mouseneb) wrote,

Crossing the pavement

As I was teaching class the other night, we were discussing problems with our city,
as we practiced using adverbs of quantity. One girl made a somewhat strange sentence:
"There aren't enough pavements in Haikou." I wondered what unpaved streets she might
be thinking of but didn't interrupt to ask her. Later on, it became clear that she meant
crosswalks, not pavement. I wondered briefly about her mistake but then forgot it until
the next day, when in the course of my wandering, I came across a bilingual sign that was
clearly indicating the crosswalk. It said:

Then I started wondering how this was getting mistranslated. Is it in some electronic dictionary somewhere translated like that? I did some research online and found
John Pasden's Sinosplice entry from several years back on whether 人行道 refers to crosswalks or sidewalks. I found, incidentially, that a present day image search on 人行道 brings up mostly images of sidewalks, with only a few crosswalks thrown in there, a different result than the 50% each John reported from asking coworkers in 2004. 

I did find a few other Chinese websites (linked below) with seem to perpetuate the 
人行横道 = pavement mistake, although an image search of 人行横道 brings up almost exclusively images of crosswalks. I'm still not sure why. 

人行横道在英国英语和美国英语中分别是pavement和sidewalk;(人行横道 in British English and American English respectively is "pavement" and "sidewalk."

人行横道curb; kerb 

pavement  n.人行横道


I also found some interesting images with Chinese captions for lots of different street signs:

Tags: crosswalk, esl, pavement, sidewalk, 人行横道, 人行道
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