Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2002 / 30 Kislev, 5763
English for -- make that "by" -- foreigners
In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
In a Leipzig elevator:
Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.
In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.
In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the
hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the
In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.
Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
Drop your trousers here for best results.
Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.
In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite
sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a
In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no
Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
Would you like to ride on your own ass?
In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today -- no ice cream.
In a Bangkok temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if
dressed as a man.
In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.
In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in
the long run.
From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air-conditioner:
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room,
please control yourself.
From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn.Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.
Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
English well talking.
Here speeching American.
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JWR contributor Richard Lederer is a language maven. More than a million of his books, which have been Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild alternate selections, are in print. He is the host of "A Way With Words," on KPBS, San Diego Public Radio, and a regular guest on weekend "All Things Considered." He was awarded the Golden Gavel for 2002 by Toastmasters International. Comment by clicking here.
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10/03/02: Brave New Words
09/26/02: English is a Crazy Language!
09/12/02: How wise is proverbial wisdom?
09/05/02: A celebration of presidential prose
08/29/02: Food for thought
08/22/02: Jest for the pun of it
08/08/02: Hop up to the kangaroo
08/01/02: A pouchful of synonyms
07/11/02: Poli-Tickle Speeches
06/27/02: Suppository questions
06/20/02: George Orwell is looking at you
06/06/02: Jest for the health of it
05/30/02: It is truly astonishing what havoc students can wreak on the chronicles of the human race
05/16/02: A bilingual pun is twice the fun!
05/09/02: What's in a president's name?
05/03/02: Slang as it is slung
04/25/02: Abstemious words
04/19/02: This Riddle Isn't Letter-Perfect
© 2002, Richard Lederer