English may be the one truly global language, but ubiquity is not without its pitfalls, especially when it comes to the art of signwriting. While travelling, we often find ourselves baffled, dismayed or bent double with laughter at the semiotic blunders of our foreign cousins. Menus that exhort us to sample the delights of 'demon moustache squid roasts'; shopkeepers happy to trade under names such as Sissy Boy and Dire Fashion; the optician who didn't blink at the prospect of calling his business Sham Optics. Whether garbled by online translators or run over rough-shod by Britons who really should know better, the language of Shakespeare is truly in a parlous condition. Thankfully the Telegraph is on hand to expose these misdemeanours to the cleansing power of ridicule, publishing the most egregious and amusing examples in the weekly feature Sign Language. Here, to aid in their valiant cause, we present the very best sightings from the year gone by.
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