Le disque jaune - The amber light?

Åb

Kwiziq community member

6 January 2019

1 reply

Le disque jaune - The amber light?

I don't understand how the example "Le disque jaune" can mean "The amber light". Jaune=yellow, so I accept it can also mean amber. But how can disque mean light, doesn't it normally mean disc? This can however be a thing i haven't learned in English, as neither English nor French is my native language.

This question relates to:
French lesson "Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position)"

Tom

Kwiziq community member

6 January 2019

6/01/19

Hi Åb,

I believe this terminology has its origins in French railway signaling. Originally the French system had a system of solid coloured disks, red, yellow etc. I guess when the signalisation evolved to use a system of couloured lights the "disque jaune" actually became a yellow light but the terminology was not updated to reflect this, so "yellow light"  = "disque jaune".

This has nothing to do the traffic light system wher the yellow (amber) light is referred to as "feu jaune (orange)"

I am no expert on railway signaling but I trust this expanation is accurate.

Tom

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