Voice Recognition Elevator- Eleven

Some time ago I went to Edinburgh to do a course for teachers. I spent about a fortnight enjoying the city and struggling to understand Scottish people.

I remember that on my last day there was a girl on Princess Street, which is Edinburgh’s main street, trying to sell flowers. She was shouting, like mad, two or three words. I stopped and decided not to move ‘till I could grasp what she was saying. It was important for me at that time.  I can’t tell you, without running the risk of lying, the time I spent staring at her mouth trying to see what my ears couldn’t hear but in the end, I convinced myself that she was saying something on the line of “three for a bunch” , but to be completely honest, I think I tricked myself into believing I could finally understand the Scottish accent!
Why is it so difficult to understand Scottish Pronunciation? To start with, English has 5 more vowels sounds. Scottish people don’t pronounce the schwa as English people do, for example, the pronunciation of the vowel in “the” is the same as the one in “sit”; they don’t make long /o/, for them, “cot” and “caught” are both pronounced with short /o/. What is more, the diphthong in “coat” is also pronounced as /kot/ and the vowel in “heard” is the same as the vowel in “bet”. There is no /æ/-/ɑː/ distinction so bath, trap, and palm have the same vowel
And finally /ɪ/ may be more open for certain speakers in some regions, so that it sounds more like [ɛ] Other speakers may pronounce it as [ɪ], just like in many other accents, or with a schwa ([ə]) quality. Others may pronounce it almost as [ʌ] in certain environments, particularly after /w/ and /hw/. ( from Wikipedia)

And now, after this boring explanation, watch this hilarious clip in which two Scottish guys get stuck in a lift which uses voice recognition for selecting the floor.


Should you have problems understanding the accent, read the transcript below.

Iain Connell:     Where’s the buttons?
Robert Florence:    No, no they’ve installed voice recognition technology in this lift.
I heard about ‘t.

Iain Connell:     Voice recognition technology? In a lift? In Scotland? Ever tried voice recognition technology?
Robert Florence:     Naw
Iain Connell:     They don’t do – Sco’ish accents
Robert Florence:     Eleven
Elevator:     Could you please repeat that?
Iain Connell:     Eleven
Robert Florence:     Eleven…Eleven
Iain Connell:     Eleven
Elevator:     Could you please repeat that?
Robert Florence:     E-le-ven
Iain Connell:     Whose idea was this? You need to try an American accent. Eleven…Eleven.
Robert Florence:     That sounds Irish, no’ American
Iain Connell:     No, doesnae. Eleven.
Robert Florence:     Where in
America‘s tha’, Dublin
Elevator:     I’m sorry. Could you please repeat that?
Robert Florence:     Try an English accent, right…Eleven…Eleven
Iain Connell:     You fae the same part o’
as Dick Van Dyke!
Robert Florence:     Let’s hear yours then, smar’ arse.
Elevator:     Please speak slowly and clearly
Robert Florence:     Smart arse
Iain Connell:     E-le-ven.
Elevator:     I’m sorry. Could you please repeat that?
Iain Connell:     Eleven. If you don’t underston the lingo, away back hame yer ain country.
Robert Florence:     Oh, s’tha talk nae is it? “Away back tae yer ain country”?
Iain Connell:     Oh, don’t start Mr Bleeding Heart – how can ye be racist tae a lift?
Elevator:     Please speak slowly and clearly.
Robert Florence:     Eleven…Eleven…Eleven…Eleven
Iain Connell:     Ye’r jus’ sayin’ it the same way
Robert Florence:     I’m gonnae keep sayin’ it until it understons Sco’ish, a’ right?
Robert Florence:     Eleven…Eleven…Eleven…Eleven
Iain Connell:     Oh, just take us anywhere, ye cow. Just open the doors.
Elevator:     This is a voice-activated elevator. Please state which floor you would like to go to in a clear and calm manner.
Iain Connell:     Calm? Calm? Where’s tha’ comin’ fae? Why’s it tellin’ people ‘e be calm?
Robert Florence:     Because they knew they’d be sellin’ this tae Sco’ish people who’d be goin’ aff their nuts at it.
Elevator:     You have not selected a floor.
Robert Florence:     Aye, we hav –  ELEVEN!
Elevator:     If you would like to get out of the elevator without selecting a floor, simply say “Open the doors please”
Iain Connell:     Please? Please? Suck ma wullie.
Robert Florence:     Maybe we should have said please.
Iain Connell:     I’m no begging that fer nothin’.
Robert Florence:     Open the doors please.
Iain Connell:     Please..pathetic.
Elevator:     Please remain calm.
Robert Florence:     Oh fu……wud ye let me up tae that… get me up there…right, jus wait fer it tae speak…
Elevator:     You have not selected a floor.

Robert Florence:     Up yours, ye cow! You don’t let us out these doors, I’m gonnae come tae America, I’m gonnae find whatever desperate actress gave yer voice, and I’m gonnae go tae the electric chair fer ye.
Iain Connell:
, ye bastards.
Robert Florence:
Iain Connell:
Robert Florence:     SCOOOOTLAND!
Iain Connell:     FREEDOM!
Robert Florence:     FREEDOM!
Iain Connell:    FREEDOM!
Doors open. People standing outside waiting.
Iain Connell:     Goin’ up?

2 thoughts on “Voice Recognition Elevator- Eleven

  1. Hi there! It’s nice to hear from you !
    I’m glad you liked the post about accents and I agree it’s difficult to understand even for American people and that’s why I posted the transcript too.
    Are you taking the Intermediate exam? “Little hell” is still little hell but I’m not an angel anymore. 😉

  2. Hi Cristina! What´s new? The post is so funny but difficult to understand because of the accent.Have you changed “little hell” into “little heaven”? I hope so. See you soon!

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