Friday, 29 July 2016

foot traffic

Quite used to our Ampelmännchen, I haven’t encountered a wordy pedestrian crossing signal for years but I did rather enjoy pondering the poor punctuation of the lack of an apostrophe in don’t—which I’d never noticed.
Granted, apostrophes can be confusing and prone to abuse and especially glaring and galling and when superfluous but I suppose in its omission—not so much, but it is wholly unrelated to the recent assault that British civil engineers launched on diction on the roadways in hopes of staving off confusion for navigation devices. It turns out—and there’s some interesting diversions and detours along the way—no one really knows why that tradition was carried on, but one’s best guess is that it was for symmetry and easier to make the NT a ligature with the earliest sign illuminated by neon tubes and skip the apostrophe.