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Not Everyone's Pleased With the GOOG-411 Announcement for Canada...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Monday, July 7, 2008
12 years ago2,577 views

When Google announced their Goog-411 mobile info service in a blog post on June 20th ( ...), they wrote:

<<At Google, we work hard to tailor products to specific markets and regions. We believe that accounting for the unique characteristics of each country can make the difference between an OK service and a great one. Although English is spoken in both the US and Canada, there are enough differences between the way it's spoken in the two countries that we engineered GOOG-411 especially for Canadian English. We incorporated some Canadianisms such as "eh," "Traw-na," "Cal-gry," and, of course, "aboot." We also took into account geographical differences.>>

Joe Clark of ( ...) wasn't too pleased with the tone of this post. He writes:

<<I've heard a Canadian spontaneously utter the word "about" in the manner they suggest exactly once.

It's a national stereotype, larded gratuitously inside a blog post that is supposed to be selling Canadians on a new service. Astonishing.>>

I suppose in cases like these what one may think of as light-hearted mockery, others think of as an arrogant attack; what one may think of as a sidenote in a speech or writing, another group may feel is personal (take a look at how Joe uses the word "autistic" in his post, for instance). And then there's the secret perhaps odd rule that only a member of a group may mock the group; note sure if the writers of the Google post, Arnaud Sahuguet and Jonathan Matus, are Canadian. In this case it certainly seems like Joe felt someone was "stepping on his tie," as we say in Germany.

Joe Clark [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Sahuguet is French and Matus appears to be American. And yeah, these Google twits really do act like they fall somewhere on the autistic spectrum. How else do you explain their HTML?

dualsub2006 [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Down here in the south we have this saying:

"When you toss a rock over the fence the hit dog barks the loudest".

Me thinks Mr. Clark was hit.

And I know Canadians. They DO say "aboot" and "eh" an awful lot.

Joe Clark [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

DualSub is doubly wrong. The difference is *I* actually live here and am a native speaker. Oh, and a linguist. And writing a book about Canadian English.

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