I’m a huge fan of SwiftKey’s prediction service and ability to learn my typing habits as time goes on; it’s one of a few Android apps I absolutely must have. But I’m spittin’ the dummy over its latest claim to “understand the Aussie vernacular so well”.
SwiftKey employed a team of language experts based in London to supposedly analyse over 14 billion Australian English words to “virtually eliminate autocorrect fails”. Why they didn’t consult language experts in Australia is beyond me.
Understandably, they started with the UK English keyboard as a foundation and came up with a list of differences between British English and Aussie English:
• Barbecues – Australians used the word “barbecue” 30 per cent more than Brits.
• Mate – The word “mate” is twice as likely in Aussie English than British English.
‘o’isms – Despite Aussies commonly adding ‘o’ to the end of words and names like “this arvo” and “Steveo”, SwiftKey’s analysis of British English showed 30 per cent more words ended in ‘o’.
• Drinking – The English seem more eager to drink heavily than Aussies, where SwiftKey found some of the most likely words to follow “drink” for Brits were: anything, plenty, much, all, alcohol, lots and beer.
Aussies on the other hand were more likely to follow “drink” with the words: soon, water, bottle, card, wine, all, alcohol and coffee.
• Hotness – Aussies use the phrase “hot girls” much more than Brits. When talking about things that are “hot”, Aussies tend to then write about food, with: dog, chips and cross (bun) being the most likely next-words. The English are more generic, usually saying days, drink and food after hot.
“It’s always been a bit of a joke that Brits and Australians don’t quite speak the same language, but our research proves this is actually the case,” said Dr Gasperin.
While it now seems to recognise “mozzie” and “g’day” and “squizz” as words, they didn’t come up as a prediction until I had almost typed it in its entirety, at which point the prediction becomes pointless. And what about brekkie, sunnies, chippies, surfies, durry, prezzy, rellies or relos, tracky daks or trackies, she’ll be right, Weet Bix, Tim Tams, harden the f**k up, put a shrimp on the barbie, Brisvegas and budgie smugglers? (OK, maybe some of those are just me.) I’m sure there are a lot more you could think of to add to that list too.
Granted, the Australian English module is still in beta and clearly says so when you switch over to it under the app’s settings. It has a long way to go before it can claim to be fluent in the Aussie language.
SwiftKey 3 is currently 50 per cent off at $1.99 at Google Play. I still recommend it as the best keyboard for your Android smartphone or tablet, even if it sucks at being Australian.
Have you tried the new Aussie English module yet? Let’s make a list of improvements and suggestions to send to SwiftKey.