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Stop, Pare, Alto: What!?

Different countries have different versions of the beloved stop sign. Surprisingly, the text is different even between Spanish-speaking countries.

A STOP sign, an easy enough concept.  You see one, you stop at the adjacent white line.  Look left, look right, left again and go.  I found it curious though how on Spanish speaking countries, although they all have the same red octagon for a stop sign, they write the word differently:

If you go to Mexico, or have seen any of the million movies on TV based or about Mexico, you will notice the STOP signs say ALTO.  Now to me, a born and raised puertorrican, alto means tall, not stop.  But hey, to each his own.  So what about Puerto Rico since I brought it up? The STOP signs there say PARE.  This comes from the verb parar, which means to stop.  Then again, some variations of the verb parar could mean to stand up.  Colombia also uses the PARE variation for their stop sign.

Shortly after I discovered this, say, discrepancy I had to wonder, what about Spain?  I of course hoped that the version I grew up accustomed to would be the correct one, matching that of Spain.  But, if you ever go to Spain, you will be surprised to know that, you will feel right at home.  The Spanish Stop signs say…STOP.

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