New York City to change the style of its street signs: Goodbye to all-caps style

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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 14:19
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Dreadful capital letters Oct 6, 2010

Yes, I felt this when I spent 1-month stay in this city. On Internet, capital letters imply shouting impolitely. Traffic safety is rather slow to feed back people's immediate sense about written languages.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Streets aren't the internet Oct 6, 2010

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:
Yes, I felt this when I spent 1-month stay in this city. On Internet, capital letters imply shouting impolitely. Traffic safety is rather slow to feed back people's immediate sense about written languages.


In South Africa, street name signs are all in uppercase. It has never bothered me and does not look like shouting. It would only look like shouting to people who spend most of their time indoors staring at e-mails. A quick glance at my book shelfs reveals to me that more than half of the books use all-uppercase on their spines, and no-one thinks of such books are shouting.

The argument about faster reading doesn't fly either. Yes, it is hard to read all-uppercase paragraph text, but street signs aren't paragraphs. If you can't read an all-uppercase word in a glance, you won't be able to read a sentence-case word in a glance either. I can understand that foreigners may struggle to read name signs, but using sentence-case in street name signs may actually increase confusion because it means an increase in the number of possible letters used in the signs from 26 to 52.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:19
English to German
+ ...
Traffic safety Oct 6, 2010

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:
Traffic safety is rather slow to feed back people's immediate sense about written languages.


If you can't read a street sign that is all uppercase, maybe you are driving too fast.



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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:19
English to Polish
+ ...
it's stimulus Oct 6, 2010

They're finding ways to spend money, somehow thinking it will jump start the economy. At the same time, if they spent the money on something that actually made sense, they would replace private demand. For example, if Mr Obama gave everybody an iPad to stimulate the production of iPads (and everything that goes with them, or is used to produce them), sales of iPads to individuals and businesses would plummet.

Hence, the repaving of perfectly good roads in Illinois, bridges to nowhere in Japan, re-styling of street signs in New York etc. In the latter case the magnificent absurdity may be partly due to the fact that States/municipalities must spend federal stimulus money, or they'll lose it.

[Edited at 2010-10-06 12:04 GMT]


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Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:19
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
All-caps must die Oct 6, 2010

As a frequent traveler I often find it difficult to navigate when city street signs are hard to see or understand, if there are any signs in the first place. The same applies to my own country so it is not only a tourists' problem. GPS use may make this less relevant. Or maybe not as blind trust in GPS devices will lead you into the river.

US cities have been one of rare positive exceptions. Maybe replacing them again is overkill but can't blame them for paying attention and doing some readability studies. In their defense they have to replace damaged, worn and missing signs anyway.


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New York City to change the style of its street signs: Goodbye to all-caps style

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