Why do "wet floor" signs have english, spanish, and german?

I’m talking about the yellow plastic signs that are put up when a floor is slippery. They have a graphic of a little stick figure taking a spill, and all of the ones I have seen say Attention! (English), Cuidado! (Spanish), and Achtung! (German). At least I think I’ve got those right.

Anyway, I’m just curious why the signs have those three particular languages. Actually, I’m mostly curious about the German. English I understand, and Spanish I get because it’s the second most spoken language in the US, but German? I checked Wikipedia and German isn’t even in the top 5 most spoken languages. Oh, I guess this question is specifically about these signs in the US, because I’m sure they have different languages in different places.

So, what’s the deal with the “Achtung!”?

I suspect it’s regional. I believe German is fairly wide-spoken in Pennsylvania (which your Wikipedia site agrees with).

I got in trouble because of one of these signs.

The sign said ‘Wet Floor’.

So I did.

I never see the German, just English and Spanish (Cuidado, Piso Mojado). Of course, there’s not a whole lot of German spoken around here (although we do have some Mennonites upstate, I think.)

I like to rewrite the signs

“Floor may be wet where slippery”

I’ve seen them myself around here in Texas. There are some German towns in my state, but I seriously doubt there are more than a few people who speak German and not English. I don’t even know anyone around here that speaks German in addition to English.

I used to work in a place where we had signs in four languages–English, Spanish, French, and German.

Maybe so they can sell the signs unmodified in large regions of Europe?

Still doesn’t explain a lack of French, which would allow them to sell them unmodified throughout North America. If they added some size and went with English-Spanish-French-Portuguese, they could sell them unmodified in all of North and South America. (Or so I would imagine.)

The sign the OP describes says ‘Attention’, which I believe is a French translation of ‘caution’.

I shudder to think what the Wet Floor signs in the United Nations Headquarters are like.

I’ve seen signs here in English and Spanish. I just figure they must be imports from America and step around to avoid the damp spots.

I think at some point the signmakers simplify down to a single icon and leave it up to the organizers to distribute pamphlets that spell everything out for the people who can’t quite catch on.

Here in central Washington, the signs are only in English and Spanish. Most of the cleaning chemicals (I work in restaurants) I see are having warnings in English, Spanish and French, with German every once in a while.

Are you sure they don’t already have Portugese? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Portugese and Spanish words for “warning” or “caution” are the same (or at least very similar, with perhaps an accent mark different), so they don’t have to put both on. Likewise, if they can use one word to cover both English and French, that’ll save space, too. “Achtung”, however, is not used in English, French, Spanish, or Portugese, so they can’t double-up on the German.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life, and I’ve also seen the three language signs referred to in the OP. I’ve wondered why, as well. I would think that, at the very least, Japanese and Mandarin/Cantonese would come before German.

Is there, perhaps, some assumption that people in this country who speak French, Japanese or some Chinese dialect know enough English to understand the warning, whereas German-speaking folks just don’t know any better?

I’m (half-)kidding.