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iPhone: You're spelling it wrong

Apple’s iPhone is a worldwide brand, marketed with the same spelling across the world. The Institute for the Languages of Finland, however, has other ideas. It says the world’s most popular smartphone must be referred to as the Iphone or the I-phone.

Iphone pitäisi kirjoittaa isolla alkukirjaimella
Finnish texts will soon be corrected when referring to one particular brand of smartphone. Image: Yle

Finland’s linguistic heritage is held dear by the Institute for the Languages of Finland, which rules on correct spellings, usages and loan words as the Finnish, Swedish, Romani and Sami languages develop.

The organiation’s latest publication has some surprising news for fans of one of the world’s best-known products. iPhones, apparently, should not be called iPhones. The correct usage in Finnish is Iphone or I-phone.

Raija Moilanen says in the latest edition of the institute’s Kielikello periodical that if iPhone is regarded as a compound word then it should be hyphenated. If it is a word in its own right, then Apple is wrong and it should be spelled with a capital ‘I’ and a small ‘p’.

The Institute’s war on inappropriate capitalisation is not new. The Institute has ruled that PowerPoints should be Powerpoints, LEGO is Lego and even the Finnish ice hockey clubs SaiPa and KalPa, as they are known to their fans, should eliminate the capital letters in the middle of their names.  

As the correct spelling differs somewhat from the one commonly accepted in Finland, Moilanen knows she is fighting a losing battle. She says in Kielikello that it is likely the Apple-approved spelling will be used as widely as the officially correct versions of the smartphone’s name.

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