Follow me

I ran into a reader of the other day, which has had me feeling guilty for not posting anything in recent months. So here’s something I wrote nearly a year ago but never posted. The sign is now long gone, but the linguistic points remain the same.

Near the Banqiao train station is this sign, which advertises small apartments. (At just 13 or 14 ping, counting the shares of all of the “public” spaces, they are basically tiny.) It has a lot of points of note for so little text:

  • Chinese characters are used to write an English word: 發樓 (fālóu) = follow.
  • English (“Follow me”) is used as well as Mandarin.
  • Numbers are used to write a Mandarin word: 94, i.e., jiǔ sì (九四) = jiùshì (就是). Note also that this works despite the tones being different.

發樓ME (with the English “Follow me” there for clarity as well)
告別租隊友 live your life

image of the large billboard discussed in this post

5 thoughts on “Follow me

  1. People have no trouble seeing “94” (jiǔ sì) and figuring out that it should be read as “jiùshì” (就是) even though the tones for those are different. For that matter, si and shi are different too.

  2. As a Chinese I think the words on this sign are of poor quality. And I don’t recommend non-native speakers to learn Chinese from those stuff. In mainland we have policies to limit the usage of ??(xie yin = replacing characters with a similar pronunciation) in commercial ads.

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