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: Generic Trademark
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 26th Mar 2013 17:21 UTC in reply to "Generic Trademark"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Ungoogleable has both a suffix and affix, changing the word substantially from Google's trademark. On top of that, it is none of the Language Council's concern what Google wants to protect or not. Google is free to spout nonsense, but the Swedes shouldn't have caved in.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Generic Trademark
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 26th Mar 2013 17:36 in reply to "RE: Generic Trademark"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I disagree that its substantially different from Google's trademark, but that isn't even the real issue as far as I am concerned.

Language Council? *That* is the body telling everyone what words people can and cannot use. Languages should be defined by the speakers, which means that new words will arise and fall, grammar will change. Having a language defined by any other means is a Sisyphean task.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Generic Trademark
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 26th Mar 2013 17:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Generic Trademark"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

No, a langauge council doesn't tell what we can use - they just keep track of stuff. Dutch has one too, and they act 'after the fact'; so, people make up new stuff or alter language in daily speech, and they keep track of it.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Generic Trademark
by Sauron on Wed 27th Mar 2013 07:52 in reply to "RE: Generic Trademark"
Sauron Member since:
2005-08-02

Lets hope that every Swedish citizen freely uses the word anyway and f**k Google.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Generic Trademark
by Laurence on Wed 27th Mar 2013 09:35 in reply to "RE: Generic Trademark"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Let's be clear, the issue you have a problem with is trademark law.

Clearly, being a writer yourself, this is a topic close to your heart, but I think you're letting your corporate-paranoia and profession cloud your judgment here. 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?

If this had been a government stepping in and preventing a company from using a specific word as a trademark, then you'd be the first to complain about censorship, yet that's what this amounts to in the long run (thanks to the weird way how trademark law operates).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Generic Trademark
by oskeladden on Wed 27th Mar 2013 21:11 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.

Reply Parent Score: 3