Siri Is A Xenophobe And Can't Pronounce McStravick
June 27, 2013

Siri Is A Xenophobe And Can’t Pronounce McStravick

We all know by now that Siri is a flawed technology. If it doesn’t quite understand you, it tries to look up the answer on the web, even if the answer is as simple as “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans.”

It’s been mocked by the press since its first release in 2011 and has provided countless hours of entertainment for half-drunk bar goers on iPhones 4, 4S and 5, and though it’s capable of hanging in there for a joke or three, it would be nice if it were more helpful.

Ah, but how can you truly be helpful if you can’t understand what the person holding you in their hand is saying?

redOrbit writer and editor to the stars Alan McStravick is a dear friend of mine, a close friend. A friend I can count on to tell me I don’t look fat in a pair of jeans while admonishing me to chew with my mouth closed and for the love of god shave that Brillo Pad of a beard off my face.

Alan is a good friend.

And though I generally hate talking on the phone, I’ll occasionally give Mr. McStravick a jingle and invite him for a few drinks or chat about the work day. Since I practically live with my earbuds plugged into my iPhone 5 and wedged into my canals, I’ll give a tap of the in-line button and say the following words:

“Call Alan McStravick.”

I’ll hear the now iconic “bing,” wait a beat, and hear Siri’s female voice chime in “Calling Alan McStravick.”

Only she says it wrong.

(Alan asked me to call Siri an arrogant C-word for the purposes of this article, but I told him I was an upstanding citizen of rich pedigree.)

For those inquisitive minds, (and those who don’t know how to pronounce a proper Scottish name) the correct way to say Alan’s last name is “Mik-Strahvik” with a long A.

Siri, on the other hand, has a touch of the xenophobia and insists on pronouncing his name “Mik-Strāvik.”

Alan always takes great offense to this.

Similarly, asking Siri to play some Chris Thile tunes is equally frustrating.

(You have to pronounce it like “aisle,” even though it’s obviously pronounced “Thee-lay.”)

The fine folks at have pointed out this week that Siri has become tolerant of other people and will now ask you how to pronounce a name if she (or he as the case could be in iOS 7) gets it wrong the first time.

As noted by 9to5Mac reader RY, (credit where it’s due) you’ll be able to tell Siri that it got your name wrong in iOS 7.

If you tell Siri that it pronounced the name wrong, it will present two other options for how to say the name. If it still doesn’t get the name right, it will ask you to pronounce it and then parrot it back to you in an attempt to learn and never make the mistake again.

(Lest it gets the hose again.)

I’m going to meet Mr. Mik-Strā-vik later to celebrate momentous life occasions, and when I do, I’ll tell him that Siri may finally be accepting of his culture and heritage.

And if you see Chris Thile before I do, let him know that Siri could one day respect his name as well.

Also tell him that some people in the DFW area don’t always feel like driving to Austin,TX to see him perform.


Image Credit: Apple

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