This is JD's blog about language use, journalism, and media old and new.
I think a permanent waiting room is where you go when you're Waiting For Godot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_For_Godot
I'd have thought it was intended to be parsed as [temporary [waiting area]], rather than [[temporary waiting] area]. That is, a temporary area for waiting (while the permanent area is being refurbished), rather than an area for temporary waiting.That said, the sign looks rather too permanent for that interpretation.
"Permanent waiting area" made me think of Beckett too. Heh. It's probably muddy there and everything.
Garic: yes, I agree with you that it is probably a [temporary [waiting area]] - but why indicate that (the temporariness) on a sign? If I have to wait, I don't much care whether the waiting area will be in the same place for one week after I leave or 20 years.And the sign does look suspiciously permanent.
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