There’s apparently a product review site called Revoo.com. Although I find the name teeth-clenchingly terrible, the results of an analysis they’ve done on the language in which complaints are couched are worth a laugh.

They analysed 500,000 online reviews of assorted products. That’s a good sample size, isn’t it? Plus as these are voluntary comments, there’s no investigator bias. The results make fascinating reading.

Contrary to popular belief, Brits aren’t backward about coming forward when it comes to panning goods and services. The UK came  sixth in the list of countries/entities most likely to give something a good kicking. Oddly Denmark got the cigar on that one. Portugal limps around the course to give the fewest number of negative reviews. They really need to try harder.

The most common UK expletive employed was ‘shite.’ I like that word, since it is both an adjective and a noun. According to no less a luminary than Professor Simon Horobin of the English Department of Magdalen College in Oxford, it’s unique to the British Isles. This erudite man also took the time to point out that it first appears in literature in Joyce’s Ulysses, but had been in common usage since the 18th century. You live and learn.

Not too surprisingly, American moaners made most use of the word ‘sucks.’ That’s another word that I like. Ockers say something is a ‘boob.’ Not what is means in the UK, but they’re on the other side of the planet. Finland, France, and Sweden all favour the local language equivalent of ‘shit,’ while Italy goes for ‘Schifo,’ which means disgusting.

We Brits use expletives such as shite in fewer than 1 in 1000 words, which means that we, like the Portuguese, really must pull our socks up. We’re hopelessly outgunned by, of all people, Cypriots. This surprised me somewhat. I’ve been to both the Turkish north and the Greek south of that lovely island. Both sides of the (disputed) border I found the residents to be charming, helpful, and friendly. Even in the cities they’re like that. Maybe they have the sweary equivalent of carkey parties out in the suburbs.

Definitely my kind of research. All it need was a propellorhead to set up an algorithm, and Robert’s your parental sibling. Utterly pointless, but interesting nevertheless, like a lot of research.

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