Every month on my way to my orthodontist appointment, I pass this sign. It is an attention grabbing sign with a big graphic image and wording in both Arabic and English. I might also add that it is in the upscale shopping area of Wakalat Street. The sign has some forethought to it as well. Notice the yellow letters with black outline. This is done to attract customers from a distance. The lettering is big enough to be read, yet not obnoxiously big. Luckily the photo says it all, because if I had to rely on the wording alone I would not realize that this was a nail salon. I think the business owner is trying to attract English-speaking customers, otherwise why bother at all with the English.
My second graders are participating in their school’s spelling bee this year. The school which is taught mostly in Arabic, sent home a list of 75 words for them to memorize. Given, they are using the Queen’s English, the spelling is different on some words. I did check with some people who speak the Queen’s English as well and they confirmed that the spelling is correct. So the kids will be learning colour instead of color, toyshop instead of toy shop, et cetera.
Ladies in Jordan will continue to get their cuts and colours at a hair saloon. Jordan is a very image conscious society. A big part of that image is education. It is in this spirit that I call upon business owners to settle for nothing less than correct spelling on their signage and advertisements. If you want to cater to the foreigners, it is a must. Also, it will ingrain the importance of correct spelling in Jordan’s children.
Spelling in English is a real pain. So many rules to follow. Once learned though, these rules aren’t forgotten. SAT scores may rise as a result as well! Every muktaba I have been in has at least a small paperback dictionary. I don’t believe they cost much more than a dinar. That is one wonderful investment. Don’t rely on your sign makers and graphic designers to get it right because this is what they do. I had a job as proofreader at a business card company for awhile. How many words can you fit on a business card? The re-dos, as we called them, were never nonexistent. Even with proofreading we would get orders back for reprinting on the ones that fell through the cracks. Insist that your image is nothing but attractive in all ways. Don’t let a misspelled sign be a reason for a future customer to pass you by.