On the first day of my Spanish class in middle school, we were taught about the importance of knowing a foreign language, and the perils of trying to compete in the international marketplace without knowing your customer- and their tongue. The example given was when GM tried to sell the Chevy Nova in the Mexican market. Whether it went down that way or not, one would think that an international corporation, with millions of dollars in play, would do a little multiligual homework, no?
It would appear that the Microsoft Zune team may have made a blunder that may eclipse the urban legend of the Nova. I don't speak French-Canadian, but apparently there is an issue that has surfaced:
A Microsoft spokeswoman in Montreal told CanWest News Service that ``it was pointed out to us'' during focus groups in the province that the proposed brand name sounded much like a French-Canadian term used as a euphemism for penis or vagina.
The French word ``zoune'' and the variant ``bizoune'' typically serve as a less jolting way of referring to male or female genitalia when addressing children.
``It's very much slang,'' said Nathalie Bergeron, noting that the words are not common parts of French-Canadian vocabulary.
``Microsoft did do extensive customer research in Quebec,'' Bergeron added, and concluded that the name Zune was ``very effective'' and posed no risk of becoming known as an embarrassing double entendre.
Huh? This doesn't sound so good, and this may be the sort of trouble that Microsoft's Zune team simply doesn't need at this point! For our French-Canadian readers, is this even true, or is someone blowing this out of proportions? For the record, I chose to go with the image of the Chevy Nova...