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It's no secret that the Scottish have long struggled to make their accents understood by fellow Brits and tourists alike. But now the Scots might have to add one more baffled interlocutor—this one not even human—to the list: Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant in Apple’s latest iPhone.
The Los Angeles Times reports that many of the Scots who rushed to buy the phone since it debuted in October have discovered that their new gadget cannot understand them, even though the phones are set to "English (United Kingdom)" under Siri’s language setting.
The phenomenon has resulted in a flurry of YouTube videos of Scots demonstrating the frustrating and rather hilarious back-and-forths with their phones.
As you'll hear in one of the videos, which we've embedded below for your viewing pleasure, a young Scot repeatedly asks Siri to "create a reminder" (note: in all fairness, this American writer could not understand him the first time, either). Siri’s responses: "James, I do not understand what you mean" and "Sorry, I don't understand 'create Alamander.’ "
In another clip, a Scotsman asks, "Can you dance for me?" only for the puzzled Siri to reply with "Sorry, I don’t understand ‘can you Dutch women?’ "
Such misunderstandings haven't prevented the new iPhone from becoming a top seller in Scotland, much as it has in the United States and England, where Siri is markedly better at recognizing speech patterns. Apple has acknowledged that the virtual assistant is still under development, and encourages users to continue fighting through any misunderstandings because the more input the system gets, the more information Siri has to draw from in the future.