Mall madness

The word “woonmall” is in direct competition with the word “woonboulevard”. A “woonboulevard” is simply “a row of furniture retailers”. In Dutch, “mal” (the closest word to “mall”) is an adjective that means “silly, foolish”. If they think they will sell more furniture using a Dunglish name, then IKEA and its unpronouncable Swedish furniture names must really be a silly and foolish international furniture retailer.


(photo: Paul)

8 Responses to “Mall madness”

  1. Larry says:

    At least IKEA’s product names make sense, if only to Swedes …

    My guess is that ‘woonboulevard’ (or ‘woonwinkelcentrum’) would have required a bigger and more expensive poster.

  2. Bruno van Wayenburg says:

    Isn’t ‘mall’ here just an -admittedly ugly- borrowing from English, instead of proper Dunglish?

  3. Natashka says:

    I like your suggestion that there could be such a thing as proper Dunglish 🙂

    A Dutch acquaintance of mine came up with the idea that a “woonmall” has all the stores indoors, whereas at a “woonbouvelard”, one has to go outside to go into the next store. She could be onto something.

  4. Bruno van Wayenburg says:

    Well, I suppose proper Dunglish would be when English and Dutch truly collide, e.g. when Dutch speakers mean to speak English (even for a Dutch public), but bungle it. Not just using a loan word like computer, OK or mall.

    GOod point about the indoors/outdoors distinction. Maybe we borrowed the word mall along with the concept of an indoors shopping centre. I wouldn’t know a proper Dutch word if you mean exactly that. A winkelcentrum can be outside, too, while a boulevard is indeed definitely not indoors. Woonplaza? (or would that be Ditalian?)


  5. esther says:

    I’ve also been wondering how this should be pronounced (Dutch pronounciation): Woonmal or Woenmol?

  6. cm says:

    hi there,

    can someone in the know pls confirm the true english pronunciation for Ikea. Phonetic spelling wld be great!

  7. Natashka says:

    The right pronunciation is ee-KAY-a and not i-KEY-a.

    Cheers, Natasha

  8. cm says:

    Thanks so much Natasha! I will be certain to advise the many on the CORRECT pronounciation.

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