Daily Archives: 17, October 2011

Siri & the British accent

We got an iPhone 4S on Friday and was formally introduced to Siri, Apple’s latest voice-operated genie of sorts.

According to the Apple website, “Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back.”

What they neglected to add was the “unless you’re British” addendum. Or so we initially thought.

In a conversation with friends Friday night, the subject of Pam Dawber came up (remember Pam Dawber from Mork & Mindy fame?) We were trying to remember the name of the old Pam Dawber TV show where she played the older sister? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, out came Siri to the rescue.

“Siri, who is Pam Dawber?” my husband asked her.

“Looking up Pam Dobah,” she finally responded.

“Pam Daaaaahburrrrr,” he had to repeat, with his worst impression of an American accent.

“Pam Dobah not in your contacts,” she said.

And this continued until we finally quit and looked it up via Google without Siri’s assistance.

(If you were wondering, the answer was My Sister Sam.)

We later discovered that there is a British English assistant that you can switch to – a male British butler type (like a posh Mr. Belvedere) with an ear for the differences between Dawber and Dober. He was able to locate Pam Dawber’s rap sheet without any trouble.

Now the only fly in the ointment is that the British Siri can’t look up businesses or locations. That can only be accomplished (for now) by American Siri.

So Brits had best start practicing the right way to say Los Angeles.