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The English language is universal


Lviv, Ukraine. April 2010

I was given a fairly serious “These foreigners are crazy” look when I started photographing the salt and pepper shakers in the restaurant. Such are the joys of being a photographer. On the other hand…


Lviv, Ukraine. April 2010
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16 comments to The English language is universal

  • lukas

    Umm… What does your first have to do with the English language?

  • Lukas: Pepper… Salt

    And I find myself in total agreement with the statement on that wall.

  • sniggle

    May not be a mere statement on the wall.
    Could be a tribute to J D Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”

  • It was only yesterday I was watching a video of a talk by French sociologist/philosopher Bruno Latour at the Tate Gallery in 2004. At one point he apologises to the British audience for a particularly egregious neologism by saying, “It’s your fault. You dominate the world. We destroy your language.”

  • lukas

    I see, Perry… The words for salt and pepper have the same initials in just about every European language (including Ukrainian, for that matter.) That’s why I missed it.

  • michael farris

    Salt and Pepper begin with S and P in some other languages too, French, Spanish, German and Polish that i’m aware of.

    Also, the person who wrote ‘politicks’ was probably thinking ‘politicians’. That makes the message even more on point for Perry, but it’s also a nice example of how a ‘common’ language can conceal meaning as much as reveal it.

  • Well, perhaps I should have gone for “The triumph of the Latin alphabet….”

  • lukas

    But what have the Romans ever done for us?

  • Ukrainian uses the Cyrillic alphabet anyway.

  • It’s reassuring to know that the pedants are vigilantly carrying out their important work around these parts.

    Michael’s overarching (sorry about the jargon) point stands – and not only due to Alisa’s killer riposte. The salt and pepper shakers were likely made in China, and I doubt the Chinese had their eye on the lucrative Polish market when these shakers were being designed.

  • п and Ñ are not easy to confuse with p and s….

  • Dom

    My favorite salt and pepper shakers are little heads of JFK and MLK. Guess which one is the salt and which is the pepper.

    I’m not sure (and I R E A L L Y hate to think this), but the holes might be … well, I won’t say it.

  • Jeff

    The first thing I took from the salt and pepper pic was PoS, with the sugar holder being the ‘O’.

    I kinda thought to whole point of the pic was Jennings purposely organizing them in that order. It made me chuckle. Or perhaps giggle.

    Maybe one day I’ll grow up.

  • pete

    The staff canteen where I used to work had P and S marked shakers on the tables. This was no indication of what was in the shaker but luckily they were made of glass so the P and S were redundant.

    Interestingly the vinegar dispensers were denoted by a full stop hole and not a V shape of holes.

  • I always thought the convention was one medium hole for salt, many small holes for pepper and one bigger hole for sugar.

    Reminds me of “Joe’s Apartment”, with Phil I Smith, of Phil I Smith Systems, makers of Urinal Cakes.

    “2 million men piss on my name every day!” was his proud boast.

  • Petronius

    Perhaps the shakers were intended for Paprika and Saltpetre?