Even though the world has figured out , there's still one thing most of us don't know about IKEA: how to pronounce its name.
Apparently, Americans have been mispronouncing the Swedish company since it first arrived in the states more than three decades ago, saying "I-kee-ya" instead of the totally different but correct "ee-KAY-uh." Wait — what?!
It sounds so wrong, but IKEA's Scandinavian reps confirm that the authentic way to say the brand is with a long "e" (not "i") sound at the beginning, followed by the emphasized second syllable "KAY."
Of course, the clever execs knew all along that the new market would butcher the name, so they actually embraced our American accents from the start. When the company launched in the U.S. in 1985, they specifically decided to use the alternate pronunciation, IKEA U.S. spokeswoman Marty Marston . They even ran a billboard campaign with the images of an eyeball, key, and a person saying "ah." So really, don't blame yourself for the misunderstanding.
"I think they realized back then that Americans would automatically pronounce it with an 'i' sound," said Marston, who changes her pronunciation when she visits the Swedish headquarters. "I have to make a point out of saying it the way they do or they will look at me in a funny way," she explained.
If you still don't believe it, just check out this handy video of two employees demonstrating the pronunciations:
Now the only thing left to learn is how to say all of their products.