The article contains a discussion on linguistic (orthographic) mistakes on traffic signs in the Republic of Slovenia
(RS) with an emphasis on Slovenian Istria. There are many such mistakes on the above mentioned signs, set in socalled
public places. This problem is also expressed in Slovenian Istria – due to partial bilingualism this part has a
special place in Slovenia because all the traffic signs must be in accordance with the Rules of Traffic Signs and Road
Furniture and therefore bilingual. The purpose of this article is to present these mistakes and find why they occur
and suggest a procedure of setting road signs in which a linguist would collaborate. In the first part of the discussion,
analytically-descriptive and analytically-interpretative methods of research are used. An analysis of the process of
writing of geographic proper names on road signs in the RS, which in our opinion is the cause of the unsatisfactory
state, is presented. The legal framework, which presents the basis for setting of road signs with geographic names
on public roads in RS, is also mentioned, the bilingual area in Slovenian Istria is defined and the grammatical rules,
which should be taken into consideration when writing geographical names, including punctuation, are listed. In
the second, empirical part of the article we presented a list of grammatical mistakes in actual records, present on
the road signs in the RS, especially in Slovenian Istria. An orthography analysis follows with specific examples (we
examined 7,595 road signs with emphasis on Slovenian Istria), sorted according to the type of grammatical mistake
into 12 categories: 1. Geographic urban names; 2. Geographic non-urban names; 3. Geographic names consisting
of two parts; 4. Double geographic names; 5. Shortened geographic names; 6. Slash in geographic names records; 7.
Dash or hyphen in geographic names records; 8. Distinctive additions to urban names; 9. Subordinate compounds;10. Common noun compound and proper name; 11. Preposition “via”; 12. Substitution words in geographic names.
We followed the qualitative research paradigm and in such way carried out a qualitative content analysis. The results
of the analysis clearly show that the mistakes found in Slovenian Istria can be found in all twelve categories. We also
carried out an internet survey (N = 146) of random inhabitants of Slovenian Istria. They were asked whether they are
aware of the grammatical mistakes that occur on the road signs. We found the results surprising since 122 participants
(which represents more than 83 %) answered “yes”. This raises a question of the so-called grammatical knowledge
of the participants, but the noticing of linguistic correctness itself shows a higher level of language awareness.