Ikea and Other Brand Names You've Been Mispronouncing

How do you say Ikea? ABC News goes to the non-Swedish source.

ByABC News
September 4, 2014, 2:40 PM
The 2015 Ikea catalog is seen in this still from a YouTube video titled "Experience the power of a bookbook."
The 2015 Ikea catalog is seen in this still from a YouTube video titled "Experience the power of a bookbook."
IKEA Singapore

— -- You've probably been mispronouncing IKEA since the Swedish furniture maker landed on these shores. But don't beat yourself up, company officials say.

They made a decision to pronounce the brand differently in the United States when the first American location opened in 1985, according to Marty Marston, product public relations manager at Ikea U.S.

Nearly 30 years ago, the company's first billboards featured images of an eyeball, key and a person saying "ah."

"I think they realized back then that Americans would automatically pronounce it with an 'I' sound," she told ABC News. The decision was, 'Let’s go with it and let people pronounce it the way they are going to pronounce it.'"

She admits she doesn't pronounce the infamously complicated product names correctly.

"It’s not mandatory that people have to do that,” she said. “We want people to be happy with the product they get and they can pronounce in the way they feel most comfortable pronouncing it. We call it the 'twinkle in the eye.' We like to have fun, we laugh at ourselves and we don't take ourselves so seriously."

Marston, who has been with Ikea for more than 25 years, changes her pronunciation when she visits the mothership in Sweden.

"When I’m there, I have to refer to it as 'ee-KAY-uh.' 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 said.

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Here's how to pronounce Ikea and other company names the way most natives do:

Ikea: ee-KAY-uh

Bayer: It's pronounced "buyer" in German, though many people say BAY-ER in the U.S., according to Bayer Corporation's deputy director of communications Rose Talarico.

Fage: fa-yeh, according to the Fage USA YouTube page.

Ralph Lauren: Lauren, like the common female name.

Louis Vuitton: loo-ee vhee-tahn

Givenchy: gee-von-shee

Miele: meal-uh

Zagat: zuh-GAT, like "The Cat," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has previously noted

Cetaphil: seat-a-phil

Hoegarden: "Hoo-gaaaar-den" with an “aspirated H" is the correct pronunciation for the beer, according to Karen Couck, director, external communications for Anheuser-Busch. She said the word starts "more or less like 'whole'" and the ending is "close to the sound in the word 'life.'"

Hyundai: hyun-day (#HyundaiLikeSunday)