Nov 7, 2023 2 min read

Barbra's Siri showdown: "There's no Z in Streisand"

Barbra Streisand (careful how you say it) has revealed in her new autobiography that she once called Apple CEO Tim Cook to complain that Siri was saying her name very slightly wrong

Barbra's Siri showdown: "There's no Z in Streisand"

We all get annoyed when people mispronounce our names. Well, I don’t. I couldn’t give a shit. But Barbra Streisand does and you’re probably more interested in her than me. She got particularly annoyed when she discovered that Apple’s voice assistant Siri was saying her name incorrectly.

On hearing an iPhone pronounce her name as ‘StreiZand’, she says in an interview with the BBC, she exclaimed: “My name isn’t with a Z! It’s ‘StreiSAND’, like sand on the beach. How simple can you get? How simple can you get? Sand on the beach. Streisand”.

In such a situation, you might just shrug and get on with your day - I know I would - but Streisand thought to herself, “how do I change this?”

“See, I like solving problems”, she goes on. “I figured I’d better call Apple. I mean, the head of Apple, Tim Cook. And he had Siri change the pronunciation of my name to be correct. That’s one perk of fame!”

I hope she made that call by shouting: “Hey Ziri! Get me Tim Cook!” It’s nice that all of that was sorted out though. Lovely that an almost imperceptible change was made to the way a robot voice speaks. Like I say, I don’t think I would have bothered.

Then again, I do miss the days when Siri pronounced my surname ‘Mayult’. Apple fixed that for me and I didn’t even have to ask. Tim Cook, if you’re reading, I'd quite like that changed back.

Anyway, this story - Streisand’s Siri story, I mean, not mine - features in her new memoir ‘My Name Is Barbra’, which is out today. The book shares its name with a 1965 TV special and two albums that also came out the same year. Not to mention 1996 album ‘Je M’appelle Barbra’.

Maybe if she’d named any of those things ‘It’s StreiSAND, Like Sand On The Beach’ we would never have got into this mess.

Streisand: Siri can now pronounce my name
Barbra Streisand tells the BBC’s Mark Savage how she got Apple’s digital assistant Siri to pronounce her name correctly.
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