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Microsoft nods to German dialect with 'moin'

DDP/The Local · 18 Apr 2008, 18:13

Published: 18 Apr 2008 18:13 GMT+02:00

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Microsoft announced Friday it will add the regional greeting moin to the proofing tools for Microsoft Office. The decision came after radio station FFN in Lower Saxony petitioned the US software company with 20,000 listener signatures collected in April under the slogan "Moin is a Lower Saxon cultural asset - down with the squiggly line."

"The benefit is so huge for a huge amount of people compared to the things we have to do, that we said it makes sense to add it," Microsoft spokesman Frank Mihm-Gebauer told The Local.

The radio station pointed out that Microsoft Office already recognises servus, a word for hello and goodbye that is common in Bavaria and parts of Austria and Switzerland, Mihm-Gebauer said. Microsoft expects adding moin to benefit millions of users, he said.

A team of German-speaking programmers and software developers will work on adding the word. The fix will only apply to Microsoft Office 2007.

"You have to make sure it's written correctly in the right place. In a text for example, if you say, 'my car,' the German expression for this is mein Auto. This word mein has only one character different from the word moin," Mihm-Gebauer said. "So you have to make sure the proofing tools are aware in the right place that moin is correct, at the beginning of an email, for example."

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"It's working on the algorithm also. It's not just adding the word to the dictionary," he said.

Mihm-Gebauer said Microsoft isn't announcing plans to add any other regionalisms to its Office dictionary. But a function in Office 2007 allows users to notify Microsoft of words they've added to their personal dictionaries, he said, and if enough people requested a word be programmed in, the company would consider it.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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