Monday 27 February 2017 By Peter Whight

TFL admits using words like ‘alight’ purely to confuse tourists


Tube announcements confusing

A Transport For London spokesperson has confirmed that passenger information broadcasts use vocabulary primarily designed to confuse non-native speakers.

A spokesperson confirmed that “it would be far easier to use simpler phrases such as ‘Get off here for…’ or ‘Exit for…’ to communicate over the tannoys, but then we’d be in danger of foreigners getting where they want to be.

“The current use of phrases ‘Alight here..’ and the famous ‘mind the gap’ are specifically chosen to confuse tourists.

In a recent interview, one member of TFL staff remarked, “We use ambiguous and complicated words like ‘alight’ that you won’t find in most phrase books just to make it interesting for visitors.

“Of course, ‘Caution’ or ‘Attention’ would be much more easily translated by non-native speakers.”

Reporters spoke with a number of tourists and admitted the tactic seems to be working.

One visitor to the capital said, “I didn’t know whether ‘alight’ meant to get on or off – or whether I should just set fire to it like my phrase book recommended.”

With Brexit bringing further changes, TFL is thought to be considering using cockney rhyming slang or strong regional accents to further dissuade use of the tube by non-Britons.

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