rob waller

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Compare and contrast

No prizes for guessing which of these notices is from Pizza Hut, which from an engineering company, and which from a university. Branded language is real!

'These toilets should be spotless (we check them all the time). If they're not, just let us know and we'll sort it.'

'All bathroom incidents should be reported to Facilities Management.'

'Would you kindly refrain from putting chewing gum in the urinals.'

    1 comment:

    1. Here's a toilet notice I spotted in a government department in 2000 (the Department's name has changed since then, but I wouldn't be surprised if the notice is still there): "Please refrain from placing cigarette ends and large quantities of toilet tissue in the toilet as it creates major blockages."
      So many points of interest here: not only "refrain" instead of "do not", but also "placing" instead of "putting", "toilet tissue" instead of "toilet paper", "creates" instead of "causes".
      There's a branch of literary theory which includes the idea that a text embodies its "ideal reader"; discourse analysis has the concept of a recipient being "positioned" by an utterance. Of course this notice says something about the Department, but what does it say about the kind of people they expect or would like to be using their toilets?

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