comScore Google Kills Swedish Word Meaning "Ungoogleable" | The Mary Sue

Language Police: Google Kills Swedish Word Meaning “Ungoogleable”


Near the end of last year, the Language Council of Sweden released its list of the newest words added to the Swedish language, one of which is the delightful term “ogooglebar” — seriously, just try to say it out loud without smiling — a word that translates as “ungoogleable.” Turns out, Google had a problem with that term, and just the idea that they might have to talk to Mountain View’s lawyers was enough to get the language council to back away from “ogooglebar,” denying it official status as a word in the Swedish language.

To Google’s credit, this isn’t the outcome they were really after. The company just wanted the definition of the term changed to something that was unfindable by any search engine, which they contend is the original meaning of the word.

In an example of either sticking to their guns or cutting off their nose to spite their face — depending on how you define it, of course — the Language Council walked away from the word altogether. According to Swedish news site The Local, Language Council head Ann Cederberg stated:

“We’re removing the word today and stating our displeasure with Google’s attempt to control the language”.

While Cederberg said that the Council didn’t walk away from ogooglebar because they were forced to, she also made it clear that Google’s attempts to change the definition of a word were unacceptable to the Council, saying “If we want to have ‘ogooglebar’ in the language, then we’ll use the word and it’s our use that gives it meaning.” Which is a pretty great sentiment.

Though it would have a little more punch coming from someone who wasn’t the head of a council who gets to decide what is a word and what isn’t.

(via The Independent)

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