What's That?

At Planet Word, we take every opportunity we can to celebrate words and language. That’s why you’ll find language surprises everywhere — even on the floors and the bathroom walls! On this page, you can learn more about what you’re looking at.


Scripts of History

One of the first unique Planet Word experiences visitors encounter is the terrazzo floor in the Welcome Lobby. The floor is inlaid with characters from different writing systems around the world and through time: from cave art to cuneiform, through to Phoenician, Greek, and our familiar Latin alphabet, with Cyrillic branching off to one side. Another section follows the evolution of Eastern Asian scripts from oracle bones to Chinese characters to the Japanese system. The floor includes the writing systems of all the major languages of the world, and also some with unique histories, such as Cherokee and Mayan glyphs. Founder Ann Friedman worked with three renowned experts on the history of writing: author and journalist Andrew Robinson, Dr. Dominic Wyse of University College London, and Dr. John Huehnergard, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. Together they determined which symbols to display on the floor, and the order in which to display them. The end result allows visitors to take a walk along the history of human writing and discover the diversity of the written word.


The scripts you see inlaid in the floor are:

Cave Art, Cuneiform, Hieroglyphics, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan, Latin, Modern Alphabet, Cyrillic, Amharic, Oracle Bones, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Rongorongo, Indus Valley, Devanagari, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Cherokee, and Mayan


Be a Potty Mouth

On the lower level, you can learn how to say “toilet” in different languages! How many have you spotted?

Basque: komun
Bengali: পায়খানা
Burmese: အိမ်သာ
Cebuano: banyo
Chinese: 厕所
Esperanto: necesejo
French: toilette
Georgian: ტუალეტი
Haitian Creole: twalèt
Hausa: bayan gida
Hindi: शौचालय
Hebrew: שֵׁירוּתִים
Hmong: chav dej
Icelandic: salerni
Igbo: ụlọ mposi
Irish: leithreas
Italian: gabinetto
Japanese: トイレ
Khmer: បង្គន់
Korean: 화장실
Latvian: tualete
Maltese: twaletta
Māori: whare paku
Mongolian: жорлон
Polish: toaleta
Portuguese: banheiro
Russian: туалет
Shona: chimbuzi
Sinhalese: වැසිකිළිය
Somali: musqul
Southern Sotho: ntloana
Spanish: baño
Sundanese: djamban
Swahili: choo
Swedish: toalett
Tagalog: kasilyas
Tajik: ҳоҷатхона
Tamil: கழிப்பறை
Telugu: టాయిలెట్
Ukrainian: туалет
Uzbek: hojatxona
Vietnamese: nhà vệ sinh
Welsh: toiled
Xhosa: ukuzilungisa
Yiddish: קלאָזעט
Yoruba: balùwẹ̀

"Where is the bathroom?"

A handy phrase wherever you go is, “Where is the bathroom?” Here’s how you say it in some of the world’s languages!

Amharic: ሽንት ቤት የት ነው?
Arabic: أين الحمام؟
Czech: Kde je prosím záchod?
French: Où sont les toilettes?
German: Wo ist die Toilette?
Greek: Πού είναι η τουαλέτα?
Hebrew: אֵיפֹה הַשֵׁירוּתִים?
Hindi: शौचालय कहां है?
Italian: Dove sono i gabinetti?
Japanese: トイレはどこですか ?
Korean: 화장실이 어디예요?
Polish: Gdzie jest toaleta?
Romanian: Unde este WC-u?
Russian: Где туалет?
Spanish: ¿Dónde están los servicios?
Swahili: Choo kiko wapi?
Swedish: Var är toaletten?
Tagalog: Nasaan ang kasilyas?
Vietnamese: Nhà vệ sinh ở đâu?
Welsh: Ble mae’r tŷ bach?