Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 26th Mar 2013 17:07 UTC
Google The Swedish Language Council wanted to list 'ungoogleable' as a new word. Google didn't like it. "The word was to be used to describe something 'that you can't find on the web with the use of a search engine', according to the Language Council. However, Google was less than thrilled that a word based on its name had been highlighted by Sweden's 'official language cultivation body'. Google wanted the council to specify that the word's definition only covered searches performed using Google, and not searches involving other search engines." Sadly, the Council decided to scrap the word altogether. Google, get your filthy paws off our languages. It seems like large corporations love to exert pressure on language - Apple tried something similar a few years ago with the abbreviation 'app', something which I exposed for the idiocy that it was. I will use whatever words I damn well please, and so should everyone else. The Swedish Language Council shouldn't even have acknowledged Google's ridiculous request with a response.
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RE[3]: Generic Trademark
by oskeladden on Wed 27th Mar 2013 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Generic Trademark"
oskeladden
Member since:
2009-08-05

That is, unless you honestly believe that governments have the right to abuse internationally recognised trademarks just for the sake of adding one arbitrary word to a list that nobody apart from writers take seriously?


But this isn't about governments. This is a committee of Swedish linguists, who're basically the Swedish equivalents of the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary and Fowler's Modern English Usage rolled in one. The government has funded them since 1972 (because, unlike the OED, they don't have the support of a rich and solvent university), but even so all they do is record what usage is. They don't try to determine usage should be. Or, to put it differently, they're descriptive linguists, not normative linguists, and they're linguists, not bureaucrats or government apparatchiks. The Swedish government no longer tries to determine what Swedish should look like, thank G-d, and Språkrådet's nyordlistan isn't a list of neologisms they've coined or which the government has coined - it's a list of words that've come into common usage in the past year, or that've been particularly newsworthy in the past year.

So what has happened here is that some Swedes (mostly ordinary teens, incidentally, not writers) have started using 'ogooglebar' to mean something. Google's argument is, in essence, that Swedish dictionaries should be prevented from recording the actual use of words in the Swedish language. I find that very odd. Trademark law is not intended to prevent dictionaries from recording actual word usage, but that's the effect Google's action has had.

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