Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/19/google_voice/

Google tells the world how to talk

Received Pronunciation not received, Scots scotched

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 19th November 2008 12:52 GMT

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. ®