In what parts of the world would a barred circle not be understood as meaning 'no'?

I have a ‘worst case scenario’ desk calendar, which supposedly entertains me with useful survival tips and stories each day (actually, it’s piss-poor in places, but that’s another story).

Anyway, yesterday’s tip was about how to order food safely when you don’t speak the language, and the advice was: draw pictures of things, then point to them, also, draw a barred-circle (meaning ‘no’ and point to that in conjunction with things you specifically don’t want or cannot eat).

So… meh. Moderately obvious advice, except the barred circle thing, I suspect - are there places in the world where a circle with a diagonal slash across it (top left to bottom right if it matters) is either meaningless, or worse, means ‘yes please’ or something?


Not an entirely serious answer, but when I spent time in Japan, I noticed that many, many people interpreted a picture of a cigarette with a barred circle through it as meaning “Please feel free to smoke here.”

A circle in Japan means “yes” or “ok”, similar to the western tick.

Yeah but that picture is the one that’s become the universal sign for “forbidden”, first from its use in traffic signs and then by extension to others; it’s not just a circle.

That article is odd. It seems to say that the tick mark is not used in the US to indicate errors or incorrect answers. Is this truly unusual? In both my grammar school and high school, a checkmark meant incorrect. Sometimes, a “C” would mark correct, but usually, a correct answer would be left alone.

When I went to school, a check mark meant correct and an X meant incorrect.

In the UK, a tick means correct and an X means incorrect.

That’s how it would be used here, too. I didn’t know that there was anywhere in the US where a check mark would be interpreted to mean “Incorrect.”

Well, in Germany, a road sign with a circle and several diagonal lines through it means “no restrictions” (so no speed limit). But I think most Germans would still understand what you meant by the symbol.

So, I guess it still means ‘no’ in a way, but in a way that implies a whole lot of yes.

Apparently Chicago. Two different schools (both Catholic, if that matters) used this notation.

Not to link to Yahoo! Answers, but it appears I’m not the only one who has heard of that convention.

It does seem from the rather small sample there that the checkmark=wrong convention is a bit of an odd duck.

To be complete, I do understand both meanings and, I believe, in college a check meant “correct.”
But my first 12 grades of education, it was always “incorrect.”

When I was in school, teachers could be divided into two camps:

  1. Checkmark (tick) means incorrect. Correct is indicated with* no notation*.

  2. Checkmark means *correct *and cross (X) means incorrect.

These were all American teachers.

One of the interesting things that I discovered when visiting Canada (I am from the US) was that road signs up there were less wordy. I’m guessing that it’s related to the language questions up there - if there aren’t any words on it to begin with, you won’t get complaints that the sign should have also had a translation into the other language. No English, no French, problem solved.

Yeah, IIRC, K-12 it was #1 for me (with the occasional teacher who would mark correct answers with a cursive C), and college was exclusively the second. I do recall being somewhat confused the first few tests.

I’ve seen it only on traffic signs, and its meaning there is specifically “Entry Forbidden”, not a generic “no”. Where else have you seen it?

Also means, e.g., No Right Turn; No Left Turn; No U Turn; No Parking.

In GUI’s, the circle with the slash sometimes appears when you point at something that you can’t click on.

ETA: And on hiking trails, it’s used for things like No Dogs; No Horses; No Camping; No Littering, etc.

I just got back from Japan and the barred circle was used with pictures of shoes and cameras at several temples.

Jigsaw puzzles from the EU use a universal “choking hazard” symbol that is a barred circle around a baby’s face.

Yes, I think that’s the idea. And maybe something about foreigners and those who can’t read.

Conversely, I was amazed in the 1990s when traveling on U.S. Interstates at the wordy signs with “Right lane must exit” and “Merge right 500 feet” and “No passing” instead of the obvious symbols. The most worrying were the “No hazmats” signs, since it took me a while to understand what they were about.

How do you get a license at all if you can’t read?