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August 1, 2008

Does the way you speak affect your mobile behavior?

INTERNATIONAL – Following my little Ovi pronunciation experiment earlier in the week, I got tipped off to an interesting new website that Nokia is sponsoring dubbed

Focussed on Britain’s wildly diverse mishmash of accents, the site has been created to celebrate and shame those accents that are pleasing to to ear or like nails down a blackboard.

Smartly interactive, the idea is that you call in and leave a message about the accent that you love or hate, which then gets posted on the site for anyone to listen to. The person who leaves the best message wins an N82 with a year’s free subscription to both Moblog (a mobile blogging tool) and Spinvox, a clever bite-size app that converts your speech to text.

Aside from all the interesting messages, one of the things on that caught my attention was the accent stats – most notably 73 percent of people in Britain don’t like the sound of their own voice. This got me thinking, does this sort of widespread insecurity lead us to communicate in different ways? For example, text messaging became much faster a phenomenon and remains so in the UK more than many other locations around the globe – could our insecurity about speech impact this? Would this be as much of a factor in a country where people generally would never think about how they speak?

It’s one of those interesting granular details that we rarely think about, but how significant do you think the way you talk and the cultural baggage associated with this affects the mobile behavior where you live? I’d be interested to know what you think in the comments section below.