Tuesday, February 27, 2007


At first it appears to be total gibberish, but looking at the subline twice identifies it as almost perfectly mirror-inverted, only that the letters aren't...

The question behind it all is - as usual - why?

美发 mei3fa4 - hair dressing

美容 mei3rong2 - beauty stuff, cosmetics

用品 yong4pin3 - items, products

Thanks go to Benedetto for this precious one!


At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I don't get the toolsco part...thats all

At 7:54 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Good question, could be the remains of "Company" as in "Co." ...



At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

so so so funny

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous 天下第一味 wrote ...


At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Couldn't it be that the photographer just shot the photo from a mirror. I'm not sure if this photo is genuine at all.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

I appreciate your doubts, but I can assure you that all Chinese characters in this picture are NOT mirrored.
Besides, try mirroring the picture and you will realize that the Latin characters are NOT mirrored in the original, they are just put as if... :).



At 11:00 PM, Blogger laichungleung wrote ...

If I were to make a wild guess to the why, I would say because the person making the sign thought that English can or should follow the Chinese flow, that's traditionally form right to left, alphabet by alphabet. He goes to make the spelling from right to left thinking that it makes sense too.

The result is like Matrix or the Da Vinci Code ... only except funnier.

At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...


At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...



At 7:21 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...





At 7:23 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...


that's by far the best guess one can make.

But I still marvel at the thought process of our sign maker...

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Sonia Wu wrote ...

Hi, olr,

To offer my humble correction:
Yes, "美发=美髮"
but 髮 is "fa3,"
not "fa4."


I have to agree with laichungleung. We were taught to write from left to right "horizontally" and right to left "vertically," if you know what I meaa. That is probably why the store owner thinks English writing works in the same way like Chinese does.


At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Can the picture taker please ask the owner the same question we all want to ask about the sign?

On the other hand, I suspect that the "toolco" probably means "tool" and "company" since there is not enough space in the end for anything extra.

Well, you might find my suspicion ridiculous, but I don't. Based on my knowledge about the people, I stand by my guess.


-Sonia W

At 2:53 PM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Dear Sonia,

welcome back :)!

You're Taiwanese, right? I think, this is one of the cases where the 声调 tone differs between mainland China and Taiwan.
Since I am a PRC Chinese student, I hope you don't mind if I leave it like that. But your comment is most welcome.

About the "Toolsco" thing, I think, "Co." really is the best guess, 差不多 :).

The photographer of this sign has left China already, very unfortunate for our quest. But I'll ask him where he took the picture and maybe someone else will accept the task ...

At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Sonia Wu wrote ...

Hi, Olr,

Oh! It's okay. And yes-- I am Taiwanese. (Good guess! Or good memory?)

But...I'm going to check with my Chinese friends from China.


Good day!

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...


I looked up the word 发 on a Chinese website and found out that you were right!

I am trying to catch up to the Chinese version of Chinese language in order to teach it to the students who are either the second generation from China or Americans who are eager to learn multiple languages, so hey--I'm learning something from you, too!



-Sonia W

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...


At 5:50 AM, Anonymous 学外语(转) wrote ...


At 3:11 PM, Blogger Jeffrey wrote ...

Interesting site, and the most amazing thing is that your Chinese name has same family name with me.


Take a look at my blog:


You can find a brief introduction of your Chinglish site at the bottom of my blog.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Francis wrote ...


At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

firstly i thought it is indian or arabic in latin letters. haha

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous johnhollon wrote ...





春 野
风 火
吹 烧
又 不
生 尽






moc tod 361 ta neloh_nhoj



john_holen at 163 dot com

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Markus Tüngler wrote ...

I've seen the store yesterday. It is in Shanghai, not far from the 人民广场 and the 南京路.

It actually is at the intersection of a paralell street of 西藏路 and 广州路.

Unfortunately my time was limited yesterday, so I couldn't go there. But I will go, to ask all the questions that are stated in the commentaries and who knows, perhaps I will get a haircut there ^^

At 9:15 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...


excellent, please do so!



At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Michael wrote ...

you can not get haircut cause they just sell haircut stuff. GuangZhou Rd. is haircut stuff market center.
maybe they should layout like this:
'Co tools beauty & hairdressing'
how do you think?

ps. your blog is stunning, like it.
i'm in South Africa now. i don't know if i can find some Chinglish here, but i'll try.

All the best

At 10:28 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Thanks, Michael, for checking it out.

I'd go for "Beauty & Hairdressing Tools" to keep it simple.



At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I suspect whoever designed this sign set the computer to read from right to left and either forgot or simply didn't know to switch it for the second line. That seems like a reasonable mistake to make/miss.


Post a Comment

<< Home