To me, they mean nothing; however, it is not the case for Thai people! IKEA opened its first store in Bangkok and it resulted in a linguistic problem 🙂 In Swedish, I guess all the product names have a certain meaning but in other languages, these words might mean very very bad things! We have many examples for this issue. You should remember the Ford Nova case, which is quite popular in marketing classes 🙂 You know the French or Spanish (I Dont quite remember) pronunciation of “Nova” means “No Go” or something like that. So when you give this name to a car, it is not good at all 🙂 The car “should go”. In IKEA case, there is a similar situation which requires further linguistic and marketing research. Let’s see what UPI.com says about this:
“BANGKOK, June 9 (UPI) — A language squad spent four years vetting IKEA product names before the Swedish furniture giant opened its new Bangkok store last year.
Natthita Opaspipat, a member of the team, told The Wall Street Journal IKEA’s Swedish names “bring a unique character to the brand.” But she said misunderstandings are easy when they are heard by Thai speakers.
“We’ve got to be careful,” Natthita said. “Some of them can be, well, a little rude.”
The Redalen bed, for example, named after a town in Norway, sounds like a Thai term for sexual intercourse. Part of the name of the Jattebra plant pot also sounds like a term for the sex act, a term not used in polite society.
IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, began using children’s names and place names in the Scandinavian countries for his products in the 1950s because he himself was dyslexic. While the company’s sources of names have expanded along with its product line, it is still Scandinavian.
Natthita said the team has tried to keep as close to the original as possible, sometimes only changing a single letter. Team members have to consider both how a word sounds and what it will look like when spelled out in Thai’s cursive alphabet.”
Click here to reach the original text.
Visit our Facebook page for more posts about languages. By the way, it is quite popular nowadays 🙂
You can also follow me on Twitter.