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(Photo: Fotolia)
(Photo: Fotolia)

So, I finally caved and bought an iPhone. What can I tell you, I had a coupon for a free case. After unpacking it with the kind of care and attention that’s normally reserved for de-swaddling a sweaty newborn, I caress the glass and accidentally press or swipe something that launches Siri. “Ooh, it’s a girl!” I scream at my husband, who’s been on an American iPhone since we moved here and already knows this. Cue me—years after everyone else is over it—spending two hours testing Siri’s limits. At least, this is what I set out to do. Instead, we engage in a comedy of misunderstandings, much like this Scot does here with his British iPhone.

I feel his pain. My all-American Siri just could not get her cyber brain around my British drawl or terminology.

First I ask: “Siri, I want to buy plane tickets to Glasgow.” (Not true, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she will hilariously misinterpret “Glasgow”.)

I’m right. “Here’s what I found on the web for: ‘I want to buy plane tickets to Costco.’” Costco is 20 blocks from my house, so flying there might be overkill.

“Where can I buy basil?” I ask.

“Here’s what I found on the web for: ‘Where can I buy bonsai?’” Those cute little Japanese trees? Well, at least she named a plant. But I’m not sure the leaves will work in pesto.

So I change track, dramatically: “Siri, I want to go on the pull. Where should I go?”

Again, not a clue what I’m talking about: “Here’s what I found on the web for: ‘I want to go to the pool. Where should I go?’”

To be fair, though, I’m not convinced that British man Siri would fair any better with my frisky request. (In case you’re American and thinking, ‘The pull?’ WHAT is she talking about?” “Going on the pull” is British for leaving the house with the intention of finding a hook up. We Brits are a classy bunch.)

Frustrated at my lack of man-hunting success, I decide to drown my imaginary sorrows instead.

“Where can I get a decent pint?”

She seems to understand, repeating back to exactly what I just said. Finally! But then she ruins it by bringing up an answers.yahoo.com link titled, “Where can I get a decent paint brush from?”

I’m a West Ham supporter by birth, so occasionally I’ll swat up on what’s going on with them so I can fool my dad into thinking that at least one of his three kids gives a damn about football.

I ask: “How are The Hammers doing?”

“Okay, I found this on the web for, “How the how is doing?” Not a British soccer fan, then, Siri?

“Where can I buy kippers?” (I like kippers. They’re delicious.)

Siri: “I found quite a few restaurants whose reviews mention capers. 14 of them are fairly close to you.” Good to know.

Next up: “Who makes a good orange lolly?”

“Syracuse narrowly defeated Iowa in the 2K Classic by a score of 66 to 63 today.” Erm, what? I ask this twice and get the same impenetrable answer.

I’ve been playing this game for 90 minutes now and I’m flagging, so the husband brings me Marmite on toast. It’s delicious and I’m inspired.

“What’s the American equivalent of Marmite?”

“Okay, I found this on the web for ‘The American equivalent of mama light.'” I don’t know what “mama light” is but I’m nervous to add this to my Google search history.

I’m still hungry. ”Is there anywhere locally I can find a good British fry-up?”

“Okay, I found this on the web for: Is there anywhere locally I can find a good British fry app?” Oh my. Someone urgently needs to invent this.

I’m out of juice now, and The Walking Dead is about to start, so I finish up by asking: “I want to get my fringe cut. Where should I go?”

“I don’t see ‘fringe’ in your contacts. What is your friend’s first and last name?” Siri and I clearly need to work on our communication issues. Maybe I’ll re-launch her tomorrow and ask if she knows any good couples therapists.

Addendum: Perhaps you read this and thought, “Er, why didn’t she just change Siri to British English?” You can do this apparently… Well, where’s the fun in that? However, if you’re a regular user of American Siri and get frustrated by the constant misunderstandings, try the British setting and report back below!

See more:
10 Words and Phrases That Cause Confusion Between Brits and Americans
Coming to America: 10 Everyday Phrases Brits Need to Know
10 American Slang Terms and Phrases That Confuse Brits

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By Ruth Margolis