IKEA launch Swedish lessons to entertain us all during lockdown
From POÄNG to BILLY, IKEA’s unique product names have long been a talking point for home furnishing fans. Today, IKEA has launched its new series, ‘Learning at Home with IKEA’, offering children the chance to learn basic Swedish phrases through the medium of IKEA and its notoriously hard to pronounce products.
Parents up and down the country have been working flat out since the beginning of Lockdown 3.0 to find solutions to balancing work with homeschooling. Through these three educational but fun lessons, IKEA hopes that they can go a little way in helping to keep children entertained – even if just for a (valuable and much needed) couple of minutes!
Having brought the world affordable, stylish furniture for the past 70 years, this is the first time IKEA has entered the linguistic space. The lessons include explanations behind the meaning of the home furnishing expert’s seemingly unusual range of product names – all of which have been carefully curated from a database of Swedish words.
Bookcases are named after professional occupations or boys’ names, outdoor furniture is named after Scandinavian islands, whilst bed sheets, comforters and pillowcases are named after flowers and plants. There are some exceptions, with some products being given names that evoke their function, most recently IKEA’s collaboration with Lego, BYGGLEK, which means to build and play.
The episodes cover a number of themes including typical introductory language topics: geography, family and nature. The content is simple and interactive to give children their first taste of Swedish, while also incorporating some counting to help towards their daily dose of maths. The lessons are subtitled, with the phonetic pronunciation shown at the bottom of the screen so everyone can easily follow along.
Some of the surprising meanings behind IKEA products featured in the lessons include:
GNARP (Noun): a small Swedish town in the county of Gävleborg; a 3-piece kitchen utensil set
GRILLA (Noun): barbeque; a non-stick IKEA grill pan
VESSLA (Noun): a weasel; an IKEA storage crate
KOLJA (Noun): a haddock; an IKEA mirror
Thomas Parker, Children’s Business Leader at UK & IE at IKEA, says: “Juggling work and homeschooling is no easy task, with parents around the country doing an incredible job in a really tough situation. We’ve created these fun, educational lessons to keep children entertained for a short while and give parents some much-needed time back in their day, whether that’s in-between lessons or when home schooling has finished.
"We know that Swedish pronunciations might not come easily to native English speakers, so we’d recommend watching the videos a few times to perfect your accent. While their children have fun pronouncing family members in Swedish, parents can grab a well-deserved five-minute Fika break!”
All three video tutorials are now available on the IKEA Website.
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