Although Ikea purports to protect its customers from belligerent garden gnomes, one thing the Swedish furniture retailer can’t seem to save them from is mispronunciation-related embarrassment. Luckily, that problem may be something to which we can finally bid adjö.
Depending on whom you ask, shopping at Ikea often involves either a delightful or a nauseating serving of alphabet soup, along with affordable particleboard-based shelving. Names like Bolmen would be hard to mispronounce, but wherever there are umlauts involved—let alone a ring-shaped accent—it’s always murky territory. How, for instance, are non-Swedes to know that Åfjärden is pronounced "off-yarden"? The answer can be found on a new website designed to alleviate this very problem.
Created by a small group of friends, only two of which are actually Swedish, the new site— Ikea In Swedish—offers a host of daunting product names, accompanied by an audio recording of its pronunciation. Visitors to the site can click on any product displayed and hear its proper name out loud. Finding out whether you were able to correctly guess the names of these items is as satisfying as a bowl of Swedish meatballs after a hard day’s shopping.