We have professed our love to Siri many times, especially when she’s able to find a place nearby to satisfy our burrito craving. And while she claims to be able to fulfill your needs and answer all your questions, things fall apart when you talk to her in Spanglish.
Ok Google is slightly better at understanding your mix of English and Spanish because it has Google. It can search your contacts and search nearby maps for different Spanish words. But it’s not better by much, especially with genuine Spanglish. Like, what would it answer if you asked, “Ok Google, how do I get rid of my barriga?”
The good news is that the more data collected from all your burning Spanglish inquiries, the better voice recognition will get.
Ignacio Lopez Moreno, the developer of some of the software says “at the end of the day, we always work to improve voice recognition for the majority of the users taking into account the diversity of the backgrounds in the U.S. So, it’s not that far-fetched that one day we’ll be able to tackle more complex queries like ‘where can I get unos tacos riquísimos?’”
The day Siri or Ok Google can answer how to get rid of our barriga and later find us some tacos riquísimos (we have problems, we know), that day will be el mejor día!
Find out more about voice recognition from NPR here.
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Most of us are looking to 2021 with optimism, but for Mexico, this upcoming year won’t just be about saying goodbye to 2020. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) says 2021 will be the “year of independence and greatness” for Mexico, celebrating not only 500 years since the founding of Mexico City, but also 200 years since Mexico achieved its independence from Spain.
As Mexico City turns 500, the city faces many challenges and reasons to celebrate.
Pretty much the entire world was waiting for 2021 to arrive, so that we could all say adiós to 2020. But few places were as eager to welcome 2021 as Mexico was.
You see, it was in 1321 that the ancient city of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) was founded by the Aztecas, in 1521 the city was conquered and rebuilt by Spanish conquistadors, and in 1821 the nation gained independence from Spain. So you can see why 2021 is such a major year for Mexico.
President AMLO presented a plan to commemorate two centuries of Mexico’s Independence, the 700th anniversary of the founding of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and the 500th anniversary of the fall of the city that became the country’s capital city.
“Next year is the year of the Independence and the greatness of Mexico,” the president said, joined by Mexico City Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum. In a detailed report on the year’s celebrations, IMSS head Zoé Robledo pointed out that the whole program includes 12 national events including tributes to national heroes, commemoration of relevant dates, exhibitions, parades and the traditional Independence celebration known as El Grito. Other events and celebrations are also expected in 65 cities across 32 states, starting on Feb. 14 in Oaxaca and ending on Sept. 30 in Michoacán.
The nation’s capital has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and faces other serious challenges.
Like many major cities, Mexico City has been severely impacted by the pandemic. It’s the epicenter of the health crisis in Mexico with more than 500,000 confirmed cases and nearly 25,000 deaths. In recent weeks, hospital occupancy has surpassed 90% meaning there’s little to no room for people to be treated. Meanwhile, the government has come under fire for a lack of any economic security to those who have been forced to go without work as the city of more than 20 million people was placed under lockdown.
In addition to the health crisis, a growing issue of cartel violence has plagued parts of the capitol – a city once thought immune to the cartel wars that rage in other corners of the country. In 2020, violence in the capital broke records with brazen attacks on elected officials and bloody turf wars between long standing gangs and the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación.
But the city also has many reasons to be optimistic in 2021.
Mexico City remains the epicenter of progressivism in the country and that can be seen in the many policies put forward in recent months. With a focus on protecting women’s safety and health and empowering the LGBTQ community, Mexico City is emerging as a safe space for some of the country’s most maligned citizens.
The city is also undergoing a rapid transformation to a greener society with bans on single-use plastics and a move towards greener policies. From the city’s southern districts to its historical center, the city is also seeing major beautification works to help increase its draw to international tourists – of whom the city has come to rely on for the much needed tourist dollar.
“2021 will be a remarkable year for the city — a city that welcomes all and provides a home for people of all ages and nationalities, which has resulted in a unique cultural hybrid,” says Paulina Feltrin, director of marketing and communications at The St. Regis Mexico City. “I hope this becomes another reason for international and domestic travelers to come celebrate with us.”
On December 21, 2020, journalist and podcaster Tracie Egan Morrissey opened a jar of worms that caused a massive stir. In a post shared to her Instagram Story, Morrissey shared a string of posts that examined the accent of author, and yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin (wife to Alec Baldwin), and her alleged claims of Spanish heritage. In her post, Morrisey questioned whether or not Baldwin has misrepresented her ethnic and cultural background.
Since, Baldwin, who was not born in Spain and does not come from a Spanish family, but one from Massachusetts, has been forced to explain herself.
In a post shared to Twitter, Morrissey commented on Baldwin’s “decade-long grift” of impersonating a Spanish person.
“You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade-long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person,” Twitter user @lenibriscoe remarked at the top of a long thread that quickly went viral.
According to Page Six, Baldwin’s bio on her agency’s site claims that “Baldwin was born in Mallorca, Spain and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.” In 2018, Hola! magazine described Hilaria as “born in Spain” and noting that Spanish is her native language. @lenibriscoe shared that in interviews from her earlier days of her marriage to actor Alec Baldwin Hilaria Baldwin spoke with a Spanish accent and, in one case, seemed to forget the English word for “cucumber.”
Users pointed out that in an April interview with Cat and Nat of the MomTruths podcast, Baldwin claimed to have “moved here when [she] was 19 to go to NYU.” When asked where she’d moved from, Baldwin noted From — my family lives in Spain, they live in Mallorca.”
After being called out for faking an accent, Hilaria has had to clarify previous assumptions about her heritage.
It is true in fact that Baldwin’s parents live in Mallorca, and according to “Page Six,” they have resided there since 2011. Before that, however, they lived in Massachusetts. According to CUT, Twitter investigators sleuths “dug up the following footage of Kathryn Hayward (‘formerly an internist at the Massachusetts General Hospital’) on what looks like her website, speaking about her upbringing in Longmeadow, as well as Baldwin’s paternal grandfather’s obituary, which states that the Thomas ‘family presence in … Vermont predated the American Revolution.’ Baldwin’s grandfather’s professional travel to Argentina reportedly inspired his children to ‘become proficient in the Spanish language.’”
Strangely, however, if you search “where was Hilaria Baldwin born” on Google it shows a map of Mallorca. Hilaria’s IMDb bio states that “Hilaria Baldwin was born on January 6, 1984 in Mallorca, Spain as Hilaria Lynn Thomas.” School mates of Hilaria have noted that when she was younger she went by the name Hilary.
Recently, Hilaria responded to the questions in a post shared to Instagram.
Hilaria admitted that “there’s some stuff that needs to be clarified,” but said that her words were twisted in previous media appearances. She admitted that she was “born in Boston” and claimed to be “a different kind of Bostonian” one who lived“some of [her] childhood in Spain… There was a lot of back-and-forth my entire life, and I’m really lucky that I grew up speaking two languages,” Hilaria explained that her accent changes depending on the language she speaks more often. “When I tried to work, I try to enunciate a little bit more, but when I get nervous or upset, then I start to mix the two.”
Speaking to Andy Cohen on his show Radio Andy, the actress shared her feelings about the controversy admitting ‘We all lie a little bit,’ Hayek. “She makes my friend happy. She fooled me because she’s such a good mother, and she has five of them. And, you know, I don’t care… It makes me feel proud that people are inspired. Because, you know I am Mexican, Lebanese, but my grandparents, my ancestors on my mother’s side are Spanish. I think she’s smart to want to be Spanish. We’re cool, you know?”
When it comes to her name, Baldwin says that she used the name Hillary in the U.S. and Hilaria in Spain. “My parents, they call me Hilaria, my whole family call me Hilaria,” she remarked. “It’s the same name, just a few letters different, so I think we shouldn’t be so upset about it,” she said. “And whatever you guys want to call me, I will respond to both.”
So far, fans have yet to determine if Baldwin’s claims actually hold water. We’ll see if her insistence that she is not to blame for the misconceptions about her heritage works for her moving forward.