“There’s gyuy danger there, if you don’t want to get to the bar, watch out.” Say goodbye to the almost metallic and monotonous voice that warns you of danger if you are riding. From now on, Antonin’s car will make a fool of the passenger compartment of a car if its driver decides to launch the Waze application. As of Tuesday, the navigation app offers Toulouse accents and typical expressions from the banks of the Garonne to avoid road traps. “Give it to me”, “boudu” or even “branquignole” are now part of the vocabulary of this Occitan -style driving assistant.
But the 17 million French users may also choose to call it Mireille and her Provençal accent to avoid traffic jams when there are “tarpins” of people on the motorway. Or ask for Biloute and his unfathomable ch’ti accent, so it looks like Dany Boon is sitting in the passenger seat.
“We want voices that are the same as ours”
After the unofficial voices of Homer Simpson or Breton rapper Lorenzo, Waze decided to target the local to get closer to its users. And to find out who can be selected to participate in the application, they have their users vote on their social networks. And it was two southern accents and a northern one that won. “The two neutral voices do not represent the diversity of the territory, but they are an application to and for motorists. We want sounds like ours, so we make sure it’s real and we validate it with our local map editors, ”explained Jérôme Marty, general manager of Waze France, himself a native of France. Pink city.
For those who want to hear Catalan or Lorraine, it is always possible to use the “Record your voice” feature and dictate your instructions. Some thus have a lot of success even if they are not part of Waze’s official catalog. For the three validated news, there is no question that can be caricatural either, “we want to stay anchored for real”, assures the boss of this help in guiding the top 10 of the most downloaded.
“To trivialize linguistic diversity”
One way to enhance accents that is often discussed in comments, is sometimes derogatory, often fun. But who never leaves indifferent those who utter the words with a different voice. Elatiana Razafi, professor of sociolinguistics at Jean-Jaurès University in Toulouse, has worked on this topic for years and created with her students an exhibition of these “linguistic micro-aggressions” that often have more impact than expected. of one. For if some make their accent a tool of claim, a sign of identity, others are likely to erase it to avoid being slandered. Or become a victim of “glottophobia”.
Through this work of mediation through art, he wanted to raise awareness and present a fact: “there are no people without an accent, it’s a myth”, recalls the teacher-researcher who studies social relationships through language, and hence accents. .
For him, Waze’s approach has a positive aspect. “It’s important to have visibility into accents, be exposed to linguistic diversity and trivialize it,” explains Elatiana Razafi, who hasn’t forgotten that Waze remains a commercial business.