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No "Ungoogleable" In Swedish Lexicon, Thanks to Google 207

Posted by timothy
from the english-is-more-open-source dept.
jfruh writes "The Swedish Language Council is a semi-official, government funded body that regulates, cultivates, and tracks changes to the Swedish language. Every year it releases a list of new words that have crept into Swedish, and one of 2012's entries was 'ogooglebar' — 'ungoogleable,' meaning something that can't be found with a search engine. After Google demanded that the definition be changed and the Council add a disclaimer about Google's trademark, the Council has instead decided to remove the word from the list altogether."
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No "Ungoogleable" In Swedish Lexicon, Thanks to Google

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  • A paradox? (Score:5, Funny)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:04PM (#43281753)
    Does that mean that the word "ogooglebar" suddenly became ungoogleable?
    • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:11PM (#43281845)

      It probably was until Google made an issue out of it.

      What's the phrase I'm looking for here? .......Like some performer that doesn't want her mansion photographed?

      • Re:A paradox? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:21PM (#43281983)

        Google would LOVE the free publicity from all of this: "Our product is so popular that we have to fight prevent dictionaries from including it! Bing doesn't have this problem."

        The way trademark law works, you have to fight very hard to keep the word from becoming generic or you lose the trademark. Google is doing what any rational trademark holder would do.

        • Re:A paradox? (Score:5, Informative)

          by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:29PM (#43282085)

          Google would LOVE the free publicity from all of this: "Our product is so popular that we have to fight prevent dictionaries from including it! Bing doesn't have this problem."

          Oh, they do:

          1.1 A heap or pile: formerly of stones, earth, trees, dead bodies, as well as of corn, potatoes, and the like

          If you don't like it, "bing" also seems to be an onomatopoetic word for suddenness with the connotation of destructive change. I'm not quite sure if that's better for MS.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            LOL, that is a pretty funny definition I wasn't aware of. But in any event, it isn't search-related so it is no threat to Microsoft's short term plans for the word. When they move on to their genocide, they may want to make sure that they can brand their dead-body-piles as Bing-brand dead-body-bings. :)

          • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @03:07PM (#43283881) Journal

            A pile of trees...so like a very large bundle of sticks?

            • A pile of trees...so like a very large bundle of sticks?

              Careful with that, boy, you're leaning dangerously close to fascism here.

        • Re:A paradox? (Score:5, Informative)

          by dintech (998802) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @01:58PM (#43283105)
          As a Scotsman, bing [scotslanguage.com] is definitely in my dictionary.
          We think of it as a big pile of detritus left over after excavating a mine. Somewhat apt maybe...
          • by MightyYar (622222)

            Well, sure, but trademarks are only good for the product that they are used to brand. I'm pretty sure you can use "Word" to advertise a brand of pretzels - just don't try to sell software branded as "Word".

            • But due to the weirdness of trademark law, Microsoft would still be require to sue the pretzel maker (They need to show effort in keeping the TM otherwise they risk losing it), until the judge obviously rule that there's no way someone could confuse a pretzel and a piece of word* processing software, even if they have similar names.

              If they don't they risk losing the trademark.

              (Notice: The full trade-marked name is "Microsoft Office Word". "word" alone is just a regular word and is generic in the realm of wo

              • by MightyYar (622222)

                Just like you CANNOT trademark "Vehicle(tm)" or "Transportation(tm)" to name a car company.

                No, but you could trademark "Vehicle" or "Transportation" for GPS software, where usage is not common. Just like MS did with "Word". If I tried to market a word processor as "MightyYar Word", I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          The real reason is that "obingbar" just sounds stupid in Swedish.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Because Google would hate the free advertising, right?

        They've already ticked the boxes for defending their trademark, if they get the free publicity they had to sacrifice in order to do so anyway they'll be delighted.

      • What's the phrase I'm looking for here? .......Like some performer that doesn't want her mansion photographed?

        Just Google It... Now I've made both Google and Nike upset. Actually, I'm sure Google isn't one-bit upset that their trademark has been verbalized. Wasn't there a campaign from M$ with celebrities saying, "Just Bing it" ?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      They shouldn't feel bad. "Ubinglebar" didn't even make the shortlist.

  • ... seriously, we needed a word for this?

    • No, but there are a lot of esoteric concepts that don't need words, where the creation of words allows one to communicate a complex concept full of idiosyncrasies while retaining brevity. If I had to remove "esoteric" and "idiosyncrasies" from this post, I'd probably have to double its length to say the same thing.

      • Re:I am OK with this (Score:5, Informative)

        by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @02:18PM (#43283341) Homepage Journal

        Actually, in this case it was silly to have any official recognition of the Swedish word "ogooglebar", just as it would be somewhat silly to consider whether "ungoogleable" should be recognized as an English word. Both words are formed by adding standard prefixes to the base word. Thus, "o-" + "google" + "-bar" is a standard Swedish construction, just as "un-" + "google" + "-able" is in English. Most dictionaries don't bother listing such words, since a moderately competent speaker of the language will know those prefixes and will construct such words routinely.

        And note that, contrary to what some people have said, this wasn't done by a Swedish dictionary maker; it was a language "standards" committee. It is rather pointless (and silly) for such a committee to waste time with such questions. The "o-" and "-bar" affixes are already part of standard Swedish, and that's really all they should be concerned with. They might be concerned with whether "google" is listed as a verb in their list, but there's really little point in listing words constructed with standard affixes, unless the result has an idiomatic meaning that can't be deduced from its component morphemes.

        • Re:I am OK with this (Score:4, Informative)

          by jgrahn (181062) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @02:56PM (#43283755)

          It is rather pointless (and silly) for such a committee to waste time with such questions.

          The point *is* being silly. Most people like a bit of silliness. This group's yearly list of new words gets a lot of media attention in Sweden, and reminds people that the language is slowly being reshaped by what we do.

        • Yeah, but the French have something silly like this also. The french want to avoid the assimilation of english words into their vocabulary, so "le weekend" is verboten :>) en francais! (How do you make the little cedilla under the c on this slashdot world?)
          .
          Despite these restrictions, there are many french cultural items that use english words, including a movie called Le Weekend [imdb.com] !!! The Quebecois also have a bugginess about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_of_the_French_Language [wikipedia.org] where Fr
    • by sjames (1099)

      So you're saying more words is double plus ungood?

  • by Kenja (541830)
    Perhaps I'm getting old, but I'm tiered of these new fangled words that keep geting pushed into common use.
    • Re:Good? (Score:5, Funny)

      by QilessQi (2044624) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#43281891)

      Oh, come on.... you just have to embiggen your vocabulary a little. And 'ogooglebar' is a perfectly cromulent word.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Or just realize he's a moron? He uses plenty of "newfangled" words and spelling that didn't exist in, say, the 17th Century. For example:

        The English speach doth still encroche vpon it [Cornish], and hath driuen the same into the vttermost skirts of the shire. Most of the Inhabitants can no word of Cornish; but very few are ignorant of the English.

        Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall (1602)

        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          Or just realize he's a moron? He uses plenty of "newfangled" words and spelling that didn't exist in, say, the 17th Century. For example:

          The English speach doth still encroche vpon it [Cornish], and hath driuen the same into the vttermost skirts of the shire. Most of the Inhabitants can no word of Cornish; but very few are ignorant of the English.

          Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall (1602)

          plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    • Re:Good? (Score:5, Funny)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:40PM (#43282257) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps I'm getting old, but I'm tiered of these new fangled words that keep geting pushed into common use.

      I'll keep this brief: yes, that is just you getting old.

    • Nobody's "making" the words (well, except truthiness). They arise out of natural usage as many individuals find the need to communicate a new or nuanced idea with brevity.

      You do not need a mimeographed sheet to tell you the definition of "ungoogleable." It's obvious from context and construction. It's the exact word you would make up yourself to say "that piece of information is not of the sort you can find via Internet search engine." "Unsearchable" doesn't cover it because ungoogleable information is prob

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I feel I should set up Social Contract, Inc. and remove that term from the dictionary. It does seem to have lost all meaning after all.

    Google, you're cunts.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So it's ungoogleable?!

  • Does anybody know how to say "Just for that, I'm going to do my best to genericize the shit out of your precious little 'trademark', motherfucker" in Swedish?

    • fukgooglebÃ¥r

    • by LongearedBat (1665481) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:20PM (#43281953)
      Bara för det, kommer jag göra mitt allra bästa att generalisera skiten ur ert lilla "varumärke", din jävel.
      • Hopefully, people are modding this informative. I for one have been wanting to know how to say shit and motherfucker in Swedish. Now I think I know! "Skiten" is shit and "din jävel" is motherfucker. Now, can someone provide the pronunciation?
        • din = din and jä =yar (but in a deep voice).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael_j (106439)

          "Skiten" is "the shit". "Skit" is "shit".

          "Jävel/Djävel" means devil or demon so not exactly "motherfucker" but then I've never heard anyone who has Swedish as his/her native language call anyone a "mammaknullare" (I suspect mainly because in Swedish culture insulting someone's mother really isn't that big a deal while for some immigrants coming from cultures with a different view on this it seems like a good insult).

        • by Henriok (6762)
          Bara för det, kommer jag göra mitt allra bästa att generalisera skiten ur ert lilla "varumärke", din jävel.

          [Bah-rah fir debt commer yog yirah mitt ahl-rah bess-tah aht yenneh-rawl-ee-seh-rah sheet-en ew-r yeert lillaw varoo-myrrh-kay, dean yeah-vell.]

          with a very large amount of salt. There are several sounds, especially vowels, that just doesn't exist in English.
    • start using google and "google"-containing words with completely generic meanings. e.g. "I used twelve search engines but couldn't find anything in all of google-dom" "I googled my way through my homework using yahoo search", etc.
       

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      "Just for that, I'm going to do my best to genericize the shit out of your precious little 'trademark', motherfucker"

      That's actually what Google just prevented.

    • by Krishnoid (984597) *
      Bara för att jag ska göra mitt bästa för att genericize skiten ur din dyrbara lilla "varumärke", din jävel.

      Source: Google Translate

      That's not cheating, right?

  • For those Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:10PM (#43281831)

    For those curious to why Google raised a ruckus about this, there is a concept that once a word has become used in the more generic sense that the term may be used by other companies and the original company may lose their trademark rights . Xerox went through this in the 80's when Xerox was synonymous with photocopying... I remember my mom "Xeroxing" on the office machine even though it wasn't a Xerox. Xerox went through a significant ad campaign to get folks to change their behavior.

    -- MyLongNickName

    • For those curious to why Google raised a ruckus about this, there is a concept that once a word has become used in the more generic sense that the term may be used by other companies and the original company may lose their trademark rights . Xerox went through this in the 80's when Xerox was synonymous with photocopying... I remember my mom "Xeroxing" on the office machine even though it wasn't a Xerox. Xerox went through a significant ad campaign to get folks to change their behavior.

      -- MyLongNickName

      Sandwich. Laundromat. Mac(k)intosh. Zipper. Wellingtons. Escalator. Thermos. Uhm, Xerox? This has been happening for centuries. If you study language development, this is completely normal. Even "Dog" in English is a genericized name.

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @01:43PM (#43282951) Homepage Journal

        Sandwich. Laundromat. Mac(k)intosh. Zipper. Wellingtons. Escalator. Thermos. Uhm, Xerox? This has been happening for centuries. If you study language development, this is completely normal.

        Sure it is. It's also quite destructive to a company's trademarks when it happens to affect one. It's possible to keep from losing your trademark even though it's becoming a common word by aggressively searching out print uses of the trademark and requesting that a trademark notice be added. The fact that it's used as a word in spoken language doesn't affect its trademark status.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          What about Jello?

          Jello brand jello is distinct from other brands of "gelatin desert product."

          At least here in flyoverland USA the term "jello" is suitably generic, and covers all brands of fruit flavored gelatin.

          Similarly with "coke" being generic for almost all kinds of soda, though "pop" is also commonly used. It retains specific brand meaning when used with other flavorings, like "cherry coke" though.

          I would argue that genericisation happens when a product becomes ubiquitous. Jello was basically the pion

          • The law is retarded if it doesn't segregate common and commercial use of the term.

            Well, it doesn't, but I think it's better than you think. The raison d'Ãtre of trademarks is to prevent customer confusion. If you buy a bottle labeled with the COCA-COLA mark, you should be able to expect the contents to have the same quality (taste, ingredients, etc.) and same origin as every other identically marked bottle. OTOH, if you buy a bottle labeled SODA, POP, or COLA, there are a lot of different things that i

    • So, they could change it to "oGooglebar®".
    • Another curious note - in English, Xerox sort of won. The words photocopier and photocopy are actually used in English now. In Russian, they lost - the verb used in Russian is still "to xerox" and I guess without many even knowing that it's a brand
      • Another curious note - in English, Xerox sort of won. The words photocopier and photocopy are actually used in English now. In Russian, they lost - the verb used in Russian is still "to xerox" and I guess without many even knowing that it's a brand

        That may have something to do with the fact that the Xerox folks decided to name themselves after the generic name of the process, as in "xerography" or "xerocopy" (the process doesn't use any liquid solvents). If you do that, you can expect people to get confused. They should have named themselves The Carlson-o-graphica Company, and they wouldn't have any such problem now!

  • by pswPhD (1528411) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#43281941) Homepage

    The inquirer [theinquirer.net] has the link to the original post [sprakradet.se]

  • That's how I begin my prayers to the internet gods, before hitting "Search".
  • by J'raxis (248192) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:28PM (#43282063) Homepage

    In ancient Rome, there was a government official responsible for determining whether or not this particular year would have a "leap month" (mensis intercalaris), rather than it being based on a mathematical formula as it is nowadays. Naturally, a certain degree of power came with this ability; if a contract or a political office expired later in the year, by inserting (or not inserting) the intercalary month after February, one could effectively extend or cut short the term of those contracts or offices.

    And of course, men of power or influence were eventually able to bribe, or coerce, the calendar officials into doing just that for them. Yes, the government actually had the power to tell you what time it was---and, what a surprise, this power was soon corrupted.

    Maybe it's time people who speak Swedish start ignoring the Swedish language "police" and their obviously-bought (or coerced) decisions on what makes up the "real" Swedish lexicon.

    • That's a little dramatic, don't you think?

      Sweden is not alone in having an official body to oversee their lexicon - lots of countries do it. English is somewhat of an anomaly in that way, since, unlike most other languages, it's just kind of a big melting pot for everything else.

      • by Entropius (188861)

        I'm surprised people actually *listen* to them. Taking a language that's about as widely-spoken as English: is there some central authority who can add and remove words from Spanish? Would anyone care?

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Yes, the Real Academia Española for Spanish Spanish. Obviously that doesn't apply to for example Mexican Spanish.

          As others have pointed out, English is unusual in that it doesn't have a central language authority regulating it.

        • by J'raxis (248192)

          I don't know what the rules are in Sweden, but many countries with official language institutes actually do enforce the official language in some contexts, for example text appearing on business signs, advertisements, &c.. Years ago Dunkin' Donuts was involved in a controversy in a French-speaking country over "Dunkin'" on their signs (that use of an apostrophe isn't legitimate in French apparently). At one point, the French were also enforcing the term cédérom be used for CD-ROMs.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        In England they also have people who come out with the 10 interesting new words in the year. Everytime there's a new English dictionary edition the news media will report on some of the interesting new additions to it.

      • by J'raxis (248192)

        I think the government telling you what day it is, and the government telling you what words are really part of your language, is quite on the same level of absurdity.

        So a bunch of countries have language police. Your argument boils down to "waaaah everyone else is doing it!" ?

        But let's assume that's a legitimate argument. A bunch of countries also, for example, regulate official weights and measures. What would you think if some major, well-connected corporation pressured the government into redefining the

    • by Kidbro (80868) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:44PM (#43282289)

      You're vastly exaggerating their "corruption" here. They're not a language police[0]. They are simply making an observation about words they notice have popped up in common usage[1]. Nobody really cares about this list, people just read it for the curiosity value.

      To make this clear, the final sentences in their own comment [sprakradet.se] about the debacle translates roughly to: "Everybody's part of deciding what words are introduced in the language by choosing what words we use. If we want ogooglingsbar in the language we'll use the word and it is our use that is important - nothing a multinational company can change by coercion. The word is free![2]"

      [0] If we have one, it's not them, but rather Svenska Akademien - the same folks that award the Nobel Prize in Literature.
      [1] Not that I've ever actually heard ogooglingsbar it being used by anybody.
      [2] A little word play there - "ordet är fritt", literally meaning "the word is free", is a Swedish expression used when you invite anybody present to speak their mind on something.

      • In addition: The head of the Swedish Academy, which is the institution that produces the most comprehensive dictionary of the Swedish language (SAOB) and also the dictionary that is generally considered most standard and normative (SAOL), recently commented that what Google is doing is actually making people more aware of the word, with the consequence that it's now much more likely that the word will make it into SAOB and perhaps even SAOL. But maybe that was Google's intention all along. I should probabl
      • But this very article shows that they are not just observing. They have an agenda, and can be coursed or bought into saying that a grouping of letters is a word or that it is not a word.

        And most people go by dictionaries and official sources like this. If I used ungoogleable in a high school essay I would absolutely get marks taken off unless I could produce some official documents calling it a word. This means that that word is used less, which makes a cumulative effect for it not making it into dictionari

  • by anorlunda (311253) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:34PM (#43282175) Homepage

    Instead of googlebar make it ogööglebar.

  • Yeah, Google is just like any other corporation. IMHO, worse so, as Google pretends to have ethics and morals. Bah! Where is Dogpile or Bing...

  • They could always use the swedish translation for "one less than a googlewhack [googlewhack.com]"
  • 3 different people in the office have already started using this word today. I imagine it will catch on like crazy now.

  • The word would have been more correct Swedish if it had been "ogooglingsbar". The verb that people use is "googla", not "googl". There should be an 's' before "bar" before the prefix is a composite.

    Take that, Språkrådet!

    • by meza (414214)

      See, that's what we get from NOT having a language police. Språkrådet should just stop observing peoples sloppy and bad writing and instead dictate how we should write. Then they could simply choose the word "obinglingsbar" instead :)

  • From now on, I'm using Yahoo! to google things on the Internet.

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