Sweden's Language Advisory drops the word "ungoogleable" from list of new words - because trademark

 
 
 

Sweden's Language Advisory drops the word "ungoogleable" from list of new words - because trademark

According to pretty much every news outlet under the sun, Sweden's Språkrådet, the government authority language Council of Sweden's official language planning agencies, has decided to drop the new word "ogooglebart" from the list of new words 2012, after pressure from Google.
Or, rather, after Google, in defending their trademark according to trademark law, asked them to define Ungoogleable as "unable to find via a google search" instead of the generic "net search". In Swedens Government Radio news the journalist speaks directly to Ann Cederberg, the new boss of Språkrådet. Ann Cederberg explains (and this is my translation):
"We do this after a long email exchange with Google's lawyers, who have tried to influence the way we define the word. And it is not about our definiton of the word, we have tried to describe how the swedish language users define the word, and Google has had comments on that."

For the Too Dumb; Didn't Grok people, this means a language nerd met a trademark lawyer nerd and neither understood the other. Google wants to word to be defined as a google search only, so as not to go the way of Hoover, Xerox and Telex and other trademarked terms that became genericized. Meanwhile Language nerd just wants to express exactly how people use the word, which doesn't necessarily mean you used Google to search for something, just that you searched the internet. Both nerds are right!

The journalist at SR then throws out a 'provocative bomb' type of question statement which only highlights their lack of understanding the predicament here, and possibly their own political leanings: "Isn't it a bit sad that Swedish Language Council lies flat for the international giant corporation Google, can not we say what we want and use words the way we want to?"

Ann Cederberg then informs the journalist that we may use any words we want to, I've used "grok" in this article and there was no Government run English Language Council Authority that approved of it, just as an example.

"The word already exists in the Swedish language. It is language users who choose whether the word will remain. The definition is also determined by the language users, not the Language Council. So the word exists, use it if you want to. Google can't decide whether you can or not."

So there you have it, a storm in a glass of water as the Swedish idiom goes. Other new words that stayed on the list of 2012, "Zlatanera" which means to dominate, a word that stems from Zlatan Ibrahimović's way of playing football. There's also "spårtjuv" which means track thief, a type of pickpocket who will push you onto the subway tracks and leave you to die if he can get your iPhone named due to this incident where the victim survived but lost limbs. "Memil" which is a weekend warrior of sorts, a middle-aged man in lycra on a speedbike, and "Tårtgate" which refers to the disturbing spectacle of a blackface cake at an art exhibit about female genital mutilation. Welcome to Sweden. We do weird well.

To really cook your noodle, Google ogooglebar. ;)

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