Hooked On Phonics

Pronunciation Trips Up Amazon’s Kindle – NYTimes.com.

Sure, traditional newspapers are on their way out, radio has pretty much jumped the Sirius shark and TV newscasters have been reduced to this.

But, thanks to the New York Times, the one area where traditional journlists still have a leg-up (or a larynx-up as the case may be) on new media newscasts isn’t going unnoticed. Apparently, the newest iteration of the Amazon Kindle, which speaks the news amongst other things, can’t pronounce Barack Obama’s name.

Well, actually, it couldn’t pronounce Obama’s name. Until a few days ago, when the company that makes the Kindle’s pronunciation dictionary updated their software to include the correct pronunciation of the President’s moniker. As soon as Amazon syncs with the new software, the problem will be no more.

Apparently, the Kindle has the reading level of a kindergartdener — when it doesn’t know how to say a word, it sounds it out. Which means certain words, like Barack Obama and Celtics get sounded out wrong.  Why this is news worthy of going on the front page of nytimes.com, I don’t know.

But at least Obama can rest assured that the Kindle will soon know how to say his name. Celtics fans on the other hand, are apparently still shit out of luck.


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