Et tu, Siri and Alexa? Or perhaps we should say: Uff da, but then you wouldn't understand that, would you.
Smart devices have trouble understanding Minnesotans, or so a recent survey has concluded. So, on top of newspaper articles belittling our landscape (the Washington Post on Red Lake County) and making fun of us for supposedly loving foods that we rarely even eat (New York Times and grape salad), now we're being dissed by disembodied electronic voices.
A survey of 3,000 smart device users by GearHungry.com ranked Minnesota 30th in terms of how well our accent is understood by the word-recognition technology used by Siri and Alexa.
Granted, that isn't as bad as being the worst, a distinction that goes to the good people of Maine when they decide to go to Bah Habbah and ask, "How do I get theya from heah."
But it is downright insulting when you look at some of the places where people supposedly speak more clearly than we do, including New Jersey (or, as they say, "Joi-zee"), Alabama (they pronounce "ice" so it sounds like the body part you sit on) and Long Island, which might be the biggest slight of all. Seriously, Siri and Alexa: You understand "Lawn Guy Land" but you're baffled by "duck, duck, gray duck"?
Granted, speaking Minnesotan can be tricky. Sometimes we insist on saying words exactly the way they are spelled — we'd never talk about Nico-lay Mall. And other times we totally ignore the spelling to come up with our own spin, which is why we roll our eyes at newcomers who talk about Way-zat-a instead of Why-zet-a.
And, like all areas, we have our little idiosyncrasies. But you'd think a sophisticated word-recognition system could work its way around the occasional minor bump or two in a request like: Is there "melk" in a tater tot "hot dish"?
For the record, the accent deemed the most understandable is "general American," whatever that means (the website doesn't explain). But it does leave us wondering what it is they think we're speaking. Doncha know? □