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I was messing around on the computer this weekend using voice recognition software.  Apparently most computers have the ability to follow commands or take dictation using just your voice. As a two-fingered typist, this is a good option for me.

Turns out there are a few things more humbling or humorous than a southerner trying to get a computer to understand their accent. 

For example, every time I used “our” the computer would type “air”.  So I started trying different phrases to see how they come up on a computer.

“I need to tie my shoes” turned into that “I needed some ice use.”

I always think of that phrase when it comes to southern dialect.  In my college years we made the trek to Florida for spring break.  As we strolled into one of the many tee shirt shops, one of our group said they needed to tie their shoes.  The man at the counter asked if we were from Kentucky.  My friend would not have been more amazed if the clerk had sawed a woman in half.  I could not convince the ole boy it was because of the way he said “tie” as we walked in the door. Floridians understand our long I’s better than voice recognition.

Next I tried a few common Southern phrases to see what the computer would hear. I was shocked when it correctly typed, “What are y’all doing?”  It did change it to “you all,” but I’ll accept that.

“I’m fixin’ to head to Wal-Mart,” somehow became, “Armpits into heads at Wal-Mart.”

Insert your own joke on that one because it speaks for itself.

I sang “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and every word came out perfect. I expected it to tell me not to sing since that is the normal reaction.

The true test would come when I tried to get the software to dictate some comment I have recorded from interviewing coaches. Let’s put this on the fail side. I don’t think football coach Chris Larkey said, “Austin County is just too full of frogs.”

And soccer coach Mark Acampa has never uttered the phrase, “They recalled Hall and Oates house. The fish are below and above them as your honor is on high fiber. “

Obviously I’m going use my two-fingered typing skills to get the recorded quotes onto paper. Still my experiment confirms this might be a way to save a little time if I talk slowly and like an android. As a final experiment, I will speak my last sentence for this column.

Once again technology has proven that it is smarter than I am, but is that really a great accomplishment? 

Well huh.

mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

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