Climbing Lane; Madiba shirt
M.L.Murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Wed Apr 28 18:54:43 UTC 2004
Barry Popik (I think) said:
>> CLIMBING LANE--On the way to the airport in Windhoek, I noticed a
>> "CLIMBING LANE." I was told that this is a lane for "passing." So
>> why don't they call it a "passing lane"? The driver didn't know.
One reason not to call it a 'passing lane' is that 'passing' isn't the
normal term for this outside N America. It's usually called 'overtaking'
in British/SA English. That doesn't answer the 'why climbing' question...
I don't remember the term from my years in SA.
If you look up 'climbing lane' with .za domains in Google, you get about a
dozen hits. One of them says that using a climbing lane involves speed
reduction of 10-20 kph. This means it can't be a passing lane in the US
sense, but a lane to be passed in. There are three possibilities for what
it is, then:
- a lane that's added to the left of the main lane (i.e., on the
outside--SAns drive on the left--that is, if they're following the traffic
laws) for a short distance to alleviate traffic congestion
- a short pull-off, as you see on single-track mountain roads
- a hard shoulder (it's SAn driving etiquette to drive on the shoulder if
the person behind you wants to go faster (which can be signaled by flashing
I think it's most likely the first--these are not uncommon on the
Just searched it again without the .za domain and find it's in use in
Washington state, Canada, and no doubt lots of other places, but I don't
have time to go through them...
Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and English Language
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN
>>From UK: (01273) 678844
Outside UK: +44-1273-678844
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