Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Rudi from Westchester, IL sent this in a while back, I'm finally getting around to posting again. Rudi writes:
I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for about 6 months, and I’ve been on the lookout for lower-case l signs everywhere. I finally found one! Recently, my brother and I were stopped at a light, when I looked over and found this sign saying “ClEAN CLAY ACCEPTED.” We both took cell phone pics- sorry it’s so small- this is the best my phone can do.

This sign is a fascinating example of the lowercase l phenomenon- the l in “ClEAN” is lowercase while the “L” in “CLAY” is capital. This is especially confusing because clean is the first word (the “fitting words into space” theory doesn’t hold- when you’re writing the first word, you always assume more space, or at least I do). The second and more bizarre reason that this sign is an interesting case is that both words begin with the “C-L” consonant blend. Why would you write “C-l” for the first word, and “C-L” for the second? It doesn’t seem to add up.

Finally, this sign is fascinating because of its confusing message- “oh good… they accept clean clay! I don’t want anyone that accepts dirty clay.” And what are they accepting clay for? Is this a roadside pottery class?

I'm glad the photo is so small. This way, the problem doesn't seem so big.


HorribleLicensePlates said...

This is a true lower case L phenomenon. Great work!

Anonymous said...

So many questions, so few answers. All one can imagine is that the signwriter would have balked at writing "ClAY" just because of its strangeness.


Amelia John said...

Clean Clay Accepted sounds like an intriguing subject, especially in terms of researching company law dissertation topicss. It's intriguing how legal frameworks and corporate governance overlap, providing a plethora of concepts to explore. There is so much to investigate and examine, ranging from business ethics to regulatory problems. I look forward to seeing more debates on this.