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Amazon Alexa settles the ‘scone’ debate for the queen’s platinum anniversary

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With their crumbly texture and smeared with clotted cream and jam, scones are a favorite treat with Brits across the UK.

But despite dating back to the early 16th century, one question remains: how do you pronounce the word ‘scone’?

Now Amazon’s savvy assistant Alexa claims to have settled the debate just in time for the Queen’s platinum anniversary celebrations.

Alexa claims that “scone” should rhyme with “gone” rather than “own” when speaking the Queen’s English.

Users just have to say “Alexa, what’s the right way to pronounce scone?” to get the answer: ‘I pronounce it scone, to rhyme with away, just like the queen does.’

With their crumbly texture and smeared with clotted cream and jam, scones are a favorite treat with Brits across the UK. But despite dating back to the early 16th century, one question remains: how do you pronounce the word ‘scone’?

ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS TO ASK ALEXA

– Alexa, should I put cream or jam on a scone first?

– Alexa, what’s the right way to pronounce scone?

– Alexa, what’s the right way to hold a cup of tea?

– Alexa, how do you drink afternoon tea like the queen?

– Alexa, what’s the right way to stir a cup of tea?

– Alexa, what’s the right way to eat sandwiches at afternoon tea?

According to Cambridge University, the rhyming of scone with ‘gone’ is much more common in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, those who rhyme it with ‘own’ are mostly in the Cornwall, Midlands and Southern Ireland. The rest of the UK seems to show a lot of variation depending on the community.

Some people in Scotland, where scones are thought to have originated in the 1500s, even use a third pronunciation – ‘skoon’, to rhyme with ‘moon’.

According to a 2016 YouGov survey, most Britons pronounce the word that rhymes with road — which is also the pronunciation Mary Berry uses.

Alexa is loaded with royal trivia to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, including answers to ‘how many corgis does the queen have?’, ‘what is the last name of the royal family?’ and ‘does the queen need a passport?’

The savvy assistant has been trained with lessons from etiquette coach William Hanson, royal expert Jennie Bond and the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady, Amazon says.

“When I started out as a young chef at Buckingham Palace, it was fascinating to see how important afternoon tea was to the Queen,” McGrady said.

Alexa has been trained with lessons from British etiquette coach William Hanson (pictured with the fourth-generation Amazon Echo), royal expert Jennie Bond and the Queen's former chef, Darren McGrady

Alexa has been trained with lessons from British etiquette coach William Hanson (pictured with the fourth-generation Amazon Echo), royal expert Jennie Bond and the Queen’s former chef, Darren McGrady

“It’s a pleasure to be able to share my expertise of the tradition through Alexa.”

Other lunch questions users can ask Alexa include “should I put cream or jam on a scone first?”, “what’s the right way to hold a cup of tea?” and ‘what’s the right way to stir a cup of tea?’

However, Alexa won’t answer straight away if you ask her if you should put jam or cream on your scone first.

Alexa says, ‘In Cornwall, the cream is added last, in Devon, the cream goes first, but you can do whatever you want.

“But jam on one half and cream on the other half and clamping them together isn’t proper etiquette for the queen.”

Amazon's smart assistant powers the Echo speakers, including the spherical fourth-generation Echo released in late 2020 (pictured)

Amazon’s smart assistant powers the Echo speakers, including the spherical fourth-generation Echo released in late 2020 (pictured)

According to McGrady, the Queen enjoys a full afternoon tea of ​​scones, sandwiches and pastries.

“Two kinds of sandwiches, often English York ham with English mustard and cucumber, with the skin removed and sent to the royal cellars for Pimm’s garnish,” he said.

‘In terms of scones: a day pure and a day folded with raisins.

‘Also small pastries such as raspberry tarts and a ‘cut cake’ (one from which she can cut a slice) honey and cream biscuit, fruit cake, banana bread or her favorite chocolate chip cookie cake.

“All washed down with a lovely steaming cup of Earl Gray tea.”

AMAZON BRINGS A MALE VOICE TO ITS SPEAKERS, BUT INSIST IT NOT BE CALLED ‘ZIGGY’ (UNLESS YOU WANT IT TO BE)

In 2021, Amazon introduced a male voice in its smart speakers, following accusations of sexism.

A female voice reinforces the idea that women are “submissive,” the UN had said, and encourages harmful gender bias.

There is a short fragment of the voice herewhich has a generic but robotic-sounding English accent.

Amazon also introduced a fourth wake word (words users can say for a command to make the smart assistant listen) for US users.

This new wake word, Ziggy, offers an alternative to the existing three wake words – Computer, Amazon and Echo.

However, the tech giant has insisted that Ziggy is an extra wake word and not the name of the new male voice option.

Users can choose between the male or female voice and use any of the wake words to activate them, meaning users may be able to launch a command with the word “Ziggy” and hear the female voice respond.

Amazon is also expected to roll out ‘Ziggy’ as a fourth wake word for UK users sometime this year, after doing so for US users last summer.

The male voting option launched in the UK late last year, a few months after it was introduced to US users.

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