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Reply To: What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”


Hello Marianne and all,

This reminds me about how the symbols in language can sometimes fit the myth in our lives and vice-versa. So often we feel in symbols as much as we think in symbols.” (Marianne )

Such a warm topic, that I am still thinking about it, and deliberated a bit on what you wrote regarding ‘symbols in language can sometimes fit the myth in our lives…’

IKEA is known to name all its products, there is a Billy Bookcase, Poang armchair, Solleron outdoor sofa. Each product is  named after Swedish towns and villages, humans, and other meaningful Swedish words. Take for example the Solleron sofa, named after a Swedish island.

And Marianne, your statement that language can sometimes fit the myth in our lives reminded me of IKEA’s founder. ” The naming system was created by Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA’s founder. Kamprad struggled with dyslexia, and he had trouble remembering the order of the numbers in item codes. So he swapped the numbers for names. This made it easier for him to remember each item, and as a result he made fewer mistakes when filling out forms.”

And then each category of product is assigned a specific type of name, all outdoor furniture is named after islands that have a lot of sun, like Mastholmen are their coffee tables, and also name of an island.

Äpplarö are wooden patio furniture
Solleron are outdoor sofas
Mastholmen are outdoor coffee tables

Then the categories are subdivided, “Bathroom items: Names of Swedish lakes and bodies of water
Linens: Flowers and plants Bedroom and Living Room Furniture: Norwegian places
Bookcases: Professions and Scandinavian boy’s names.” Many of us have assembled their most basic bookcase, the Billy book case. I know I have, and surely have not forgotten the name.

So, following this trend, a furniture store in Canada, began naming its products too. Unfortunately, they gave their rubbish bins a few Arabic names : Wahid and Waseem.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, “Wahid or vaheed is an Arabic masculine given name, meaning “One”, “Absolute One”. Al-Wahid is one of the 99 names of Allah.” This offended the Arab community, and now the matter is being scrutinized by the ethics committee.

Shaahayda and not Shaheda (Respelled after discussions with Marianne to reflect my myth)