Please Close the Light

The sign on the inside of the restroom at the Bubblezone restaurant on Clement Street in San Francisco. I only had the cell phone with me so the quality is not great, but considering it was inside a small room and has no flash of any kind, I thought it did an OK job. Certainly good enough to read the engrish in the sign.

The Chinese version reads (I believe): ‘Close light & Close door’ (é–‰ and é–€ are two of the few things I know; I’m guessing that the first word in each clause is meant to be some form of ‘close’). My Mac translates turn off the light as ‘關閉光’ and close the door as ‘關閉門’ (notice the similarities).

5 thoughts on “Please Close the Light

  1. I think it is the way Chinese express it. When my Mnadarian speaking daughter was learning english she would point to the ligth and say “Open That!”. Just the other day, I heard her tell her little sister to go close the light — that was a slip up usually it’s “turn it off” or “turn it on”.

  2. chinese are not unique in being confused by english usage. in my dissolute teenaged years, i had an italian girlfriend who’d say “close the light”. i’ve heard similar from other non-native speakers from both europe and asia.

  3. As a Greek-American (and a New Yorker), I also was raised saying “open/close” the light. Also “make a party,” as opposed to “throw a party,” and waiting “on line” versus waiting “in line.”

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