In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Dr. Ludwik Łazarz Zamenhof, a Jewish ophthalmologist from Bialystok (now part of Poland but at the time inside the Russian Empire), developed a new language that he called “Esperanto,” which literally means “one who hopes,” i.e. hoping that it would help pull down the linguistic barriers across the world so that anyone in any country could communicate with any other inhabitant of our planet.

Some years have gone by since then and, while Esperanto is still alive and almost one million people speak it in the world, another language has become the de facto equivalent of Esperanto: English. One thing is clear: with a certain knowledge of English you’ll be able to get by in most countries, or at least find somebody who speaks it that can assist you even in the most remote corners of the world.

That, of course, has its consequences. You can’t always expect an excellent level of English in countries where English is not the local language. That even becomes apparent in the design of public signs directed to tourists or visitors. In some cases and places the linguistic irregularities are so frequent that they end up creating a specific dialect of pseudo-English with its own designation: Chinglish, Spanglish, etc.

We present you here just a sample of those signs that we can insert into the category of failed English. One of the main contributors is China, a country that in recent years has been rapidly growing and opening to the outside world. As you’ll see, these signs can be pretty funny, naturally without aspiring to be so…


SELECT A SIGN:
In the embrace of the history, Egypt The slippery are very crafty, China
Waiting room totally, China Footwearing strictly prohibited, Burma
Don’t in without visit, Taiwan No turning over, please, China
A nice electric shock, China Bath publish, Peru
Deformed man lavatory, China Organic refuse, China
Jump of the cliff, China Slip carefully, China
Slip and fall down carefully, China Unrecycling, China
You are hear, China Beware of stray dog, Taiwan
Free buffet, China Politely refuse visiting, China
No firemaking in hardcore scenery, China Spread to fuck the fruit, China