Google tells the world how to talk
Received Pronunciation not received, Scots scotched
Google's voice search is, it turns out, optimised for North American accents and has distinct problems understanding proper English as the BBC defines it - forcing English users to adopt the kind of dodgy accents not usually seen outside a karaoke night.
Google's iPhone application warns users that "Voice Search only works in English, and works best for North American English accents", as noted by Cult of Mac, but one doesn't expect to have to adopt an septic twang just to get an internet search completed - though that appears to be the case.
The Telegraph reports that a Scot asking for iPhone was offered searches for Sex instead, while a Welsh accent delivered "gorillas" and "kitchen sink". Even a Surrey accent failed, delivering "my sister".
Not content with insisting we use imperial measurements in our IT, and refusing to refer to them as "imperial", as well as fostering everything from Battlebots to Friends onto our TV screens, the Americans seem set on attacking Received Pronunciation; surely the foundation on which our great island was built.
Clearly we can't sit by and watch our very language be attacked in this way, and must petition the BBC to create their own Voice Search application that refuses to respond to any sound containing so much as a hint of regional inflection.
Meanwhile we'll have to content ourselves with laughing at iPhone users as they attempt American accents that would make Dick Van Dyke look accomplished. ®
As we say in Texas
I reckon these Google fellers need a lesson.
*Gets out stereotypical accent dictionary*
Nort 'merican accent
I was born in suburban Boston, whilst my granddad was born Down East (central Nova Scotia), and I once found myself, at the age of 8 being chased round his house by him, holding a stick of firewood, which he was going to use on my ass, because I did such a great job of imitating his accent. He was being followed in our little chase by my mom, who was telling him that she'd kill him if he applied said stick to my ass. Just in Eastern Canada, I can think of four accents- Newfie, Novie, PEI, Brunswick, and everybody west of Ontario is almost undistinguished from the US Midwestern 'generic' accent made famous by news anchors and Johnny Carson, (but I'm sure they can tell each other apart). Listening to broadcasts of 'Hockey Night in Canada' will treat you to some of these lovely dialects. Granddad would recognized most of them, I'm sure.
There was a TV series on the English Language a few years ago that said you could trace back most US accents to the areas of England the original settlers had tumbled out of, and I'm sure that's still true. Virginians sound different then western North Carolina, and Arkansas doesn't sound anything at all like Georgia. I was surprised that Sarah Palin sounded like a character in the movie FARGO, which was odd, given that she was born in Idaho and raised in Alaska. I've been told that Palin's faux accent was born in the Finnish influences in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan to the language, for it's worth.
What would Google make of Eliza Doolittle?
As Eliza would say, "G'onnnn!"
15 years ago, an Aussie lass told visiting the States told me that she had to put on an American accent to get an ATM machine to understand her.