List of shibboleths

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Below are listed various examples of words and phrases that have been identified as shibboleths, a word or custom whose variations in pronunciation or style can be used to differentiate members of ingroups from those of outgroups.

Shibboleths used in war and persecution[edit]

Dutch–French[edit]

  • Schild en vriend: On 18 May 1302, the people of Bruges killed the French occupiers of the city during a nocturnal surprise attack. According to a famous legend, they stormed into the houses where they knew the tenants were forced to board and lodge French troops serving as city guards, roused every male person from his bed and forced them to repeat the challenge schild en vriend (shield and friend). The Flemings pronounced schild with a separate "s" /s/ and "ch" /x/". Flemings would pronounce vriend with a voiced v whereas French would render those as a voiceless f.

Every Frenchman who failed the test was stabbed on the spot, still in his nightgown. Because the signal for the uprising was the matins bells of the city's churches and monasteries, this became known as the Bruges Matins or Brugse Metten. Like the name of the massacre, the story may have been influenced by the Sicilian uprising mentioned below.

  • The problem with this legend is that in Medieval manuscripts of that time, a shield is referred to as "skilde" as in Norse and Norse-influenced English words. Therefore, it is sometimes said that the words must have been "'s gilden vriend" meaning "friend of the guilds." The combination of the 's and the g in "'s gilden" would be pronounced /sx/.[1]

Italian/Sicilian–French[edit]

  • Ciciri (chickpeas): This was used by native Sicilians to ferret out Angevin French soldiers in the late 13th century during the Sicilian Vespers, the uprising which freed the island from Angevin rule. Both the Italian soft c /tʃ/, and the Italian r, were (and are still) difficult for the French to pronounce as that sequence of sounds seldom appears in French; also, in French, words are primarily stressed on the final syllable.[2]

Frisian–Dutch[edit]

Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis; wa't dat net sizze kin, is gjin oprjochte Fries
  • Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis; wa't dat net sizze kin, is gjin oprjochte Fries (About this sound example ) means "Butter, rye bread and green cheese, whoever cannot say that is not a genuine Frisian" was used by the Frisian Pier Gerlofs Donia during a Frisian rebellion (1515–1523). Ships whose crew could not pronounce this properly were usually plundered and soldiers who could not were beheaded by Donia himself.[3]

Castilian Spanish–Latin-American Spanish[edit]

English–Dutch[edit]

  • The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 (also Tyler’s Rebellion, or the Great Rising) was used by the merchants of London in an attempt to get a competitive edge in the trade with the Low Countries by reducing the number of competitors. A massacre among the Flemings in London – not just the Flemish merchants – ensued. "And many fflemmynges loste hir heedes at that tyme and namely they that koude nat say Breede and Chese, but Case and Brode."[5]

Finnish–Russian[edit]

  • Yksi: Finnish for "one", used by the White Guard to separate Russians from Finns in the Finnish Civil War during the invasion of Tampere. Many of the Russians caught had changed to civilian clothing, so suspected people were rounded up, even from hospitals, and asked to say yksi. If the prisoner pronounced it [juksi], mistaking the front vowel 'y' for an iotated 'u', he was considered a Russian foreign fighter and was shot on the spot. Any Slav or Balt, Communist or not, was killed, including some members of the White Guard.[6]
  • Höyryjyrä: Finnish for "steam roller", used by the Finnish Army in the Second World War. This word is almost impossible to pronounce for anyone not skilled in Finnish, withe frontal 'ö' and 'y' and rolled 'r' [höyryjyrä].[7]

Spanish–French and Haitian Creole[edit]

  • Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo conducted a brutal massacre of undocumented Haitian settlers along the Dominican-Haitian border. The action is known as the Parsley Massacre. Suspects not fluent in Spanish either did not know or could not properly pronounce the Spanish word 'perejil' (parsley). The pronunciation of the word by Haitian citizens tended to be with an trilled r and without the 'l' at the end of the word.[8]

Azeri–Armenian[edit]

  • The Azeri word for Hazelnut, fındıq, which Armenians typically pronounce with a [p] instead of an [f].[9]

Polish–German[edit]

  • Soczewica, koło, miele, młyn (Old Polish pronunciation: [ˈs̪ɔt͡ʃɛvit͡sʲa ˈkɔɫɔ ˈmʲɛlʲɛ ˈmɫɪn̪]), meaning "lentil, wheel, grinds [verb], mill": In 1312, the Polish Prince Ladislaus the Elbow-high quelled the Rebellion of wójt Albert in Kraków, populated mostly by Silesian, German and Czech citizens. Anyone over the age of 7 who could not pronounce these Polish words was put to death, ejected from the city or had his property confiscated. 'Ł' (then pronounced as a velarized alveolar lateral approximant, aka dark l) and dental [s̪] are both unlikely to be pronounced properly by Germans since they cannot make out the difference from their own sounds [l] and [s]. (The former was approximated by Germans as l, and has evolved now into a sound similar to English w)[10]

Culture, religion and language-specific shibboleths[edit]

English shibboleths for native speakers or local natives[edit]

  • Fish and chips: The accents of Australians and New Zealanders seem very similar, and the term fish and chips is sometimes evoked to illustrate a major difference between the two. In New Zealand pronunciation short i is a central vowel, [ɘ]. This vowel sound is sometimes caricatured as "fush and chups" by Australians. The Australian pronunciation has the front vowel [ɪ] (which is more common in most varieties of English) which, due to an overall vowel shift in New Zealand, sounds like "feesh and cheeps" to the ears of a New Zealander,[16][17] sounding like an instance of the "Fill–feel merger".
  • Pronunciation of letters of the alphabet:
  • In Highland Dress, for anyone who has served in a Scottish Regiment or played in a pipe band, or whenever said by a Scot, if ‘plaidshould be used to refer to tartan cloth, it could be pronounced: /ˈplæd/ (to rhyme with ‘had’). NB: This usage, as a synonym for ‘tartan’, is generally only ever found in North America.[24] More often, however, when referring to the cape-like garment, in its various forms, worn over the left shoulder as part of the traditional or formal Scottish dress, the pronunciation is: /ˈpld/ (to rhyme with ‘made’); though the OED accepts both pronunciations in this usage. To further stress the difference in pronunciation of the garment versus the cloth, the garment has an alternative spelling ‘plaide’, though rarely used. Thus: belted-plaid, drummer's plaid, evening-plaid, fly-plaid, full-plaid, piper's plaid, et al., are pronounced /ˈpld/ by those who have worn, or are familiar, with the same. Etymology: plaide (Scots) via Scottish Gaelic meaning ‘blanket’ or ‘cloak’, (albeit usually made of tartan; most often the same tartan as the wearer's kilt or trews).[25]

Place-name pronunciations[edit]

In Australia[edit]

  • Cairns, Queensland: Pronounced [ˈkæːnz] or [ˈkeːnz] by Australians,[26] is pronounced /ˈkɛərnz/ by speakers of non-Australian dialects. Although /ˈkɛərnz/ is standard in the case of the English word 'cairn' referring to a stack of stones,[27] most Australians consider it erroneous when referring to the city.

In Canada[edit]

In Malaysia[edit]

In the United Kingdom[edit]


In the United States[edit]

Place-name terms[edit]

  • Locals refer to San Francisco as "SF", or simply "the City" within the context of the San Francisco Bay Area. Tourists may sometimes say "San Fran" or "Frisco".[44][45]
  • In Southern California, locals generally use the article "the" preceding the number of a freeway. Northern California locals generally do not use "the" before a numerical freeway name. For example, Southern Californians usually refer to Highway 101 as "The 101," whereas Northern Californians will refer to it as simply "101."[46][47] By comparison, people in the rest of the United States more often precede a freeway's route number with its highway classification, as in "U.S. 101" for a Federal highway or "Interstate 5" or "I-5" for an interstate highway.[48]
  • Long-time Democratic residents of Washington, D.C., will refer to Reagan National Airport as simply as "National," while Republicans and visitors to the area are more likely to call it by the name of the former president.[49]
  • Additionally, many long-time residents of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will refer to it as "The DMV" (the District, Maryland, and Virginia , specifically referencing the Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington Counties of Virginia; the city itself; and the Montgomery and Prince George's Counties of Maryland). This frequently leads to outsiders confusing it with the local Department of Motor Vehicles, or "Delmarva", the portmanteau of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (referring to the combined areas of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Eastern Shore of Virginia, and Delaware), both of which can also be abbreviated to "DMV".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phil Lee, The rough guide to Bruges & Ghent, pp. 22–3
  2. ^ McNamara, Timothy; Carsten Roever (2006). Language testing: the social dimension. John Wiley and Sons. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-4051-5543-4.
  3. ^ "Greate Pier fan Wûnseradiel" (in Western Frisian). Gemeente Wûnseradiel. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  4. ^ Centro Virtual Cervantes. "III Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española. Paneles y ponencias. Raúl Ávila". congresosdelalengua.es.
  5. ^ Chronicles of London; Oxford University Press, 1905; ed. C. L. Kingsford; p. 15
  6. ^ Heikki Ylikangas, Tie Tampereelle, ref. at http://www.uta.fi/koskivoimaa/valta/1918-40/venalai1.htm
  7. ^ https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%A0ibbolet
  8. ^ "Untitled Document". upenn.edu.
  9. ^ Shahmuratian. Sumgait Tragedy, Interview with Vanya Bazyan, p. 159; also: Vahagn Martirosyan, interview (Alexandre Billette, Hervé Dez (2014) - Transkraïna, online, retrieved 2014.02.13, http://transkraina.webdoc.4th-line.com).
  10. ^ Węgłowski, Adam (21 June 2012). "Soczewica, Koło, Miele Młyn z Albertem" (in Polish). Focus.pl. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  11. ^ Ambrose, Stephen E. (1994). D-Day. New York: Touchstone. p. 191. ISBN 0-684-80137-X.
  12. ^ Ross, Stuart. Teach Yourself - The Middle East Since 1945. Hodder Education. p. 98.
  13. ^ "Nairobi siege: What we know". BBC News. Retrieved 22 September 2013. An Indian man who was standing next to him was asked for the name of the Prophet's mother and when he was unable to answer, he was shot dead, the witness told him.
  14. ^ "Explosions inside mall as stand-off nears end". The New Zealand Herald. Agence France-Presse. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  15. ^ Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (27 September 2013). "Peace groups warn of empty victory in Zambo siege". The PCIJ Blog. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  16. ^ Ilka Ludwig (2007), Identification of New Zealand English and Australian English based on stereotypical accent markers, p. 22
  17. ^ Laurie Bauer, Paul Warren (2008), New Zealand English: phonology, ISBN 978-3-11-019637-5
  18. ^ Philippe Laplace. "Cities on the Margin, on the Margin of Cities: Representations of Urban Space in Contemporary Irish and British Fiction". Presses Univ. Franche-Comté. p. 186.
  19. ^ Cynthia Cockburn. "The Space Between Us: Negotiating Gender and National Identities in Conflict". Zed Books. p. 51.
  20. ^ Frederick Ludowyk. "AB(H)OMINABLE (H)AITCH" (PDF). Ozwords. Australian National Dictionary Centre.
  21. ^ "Think". International Business Machines Corporation. p. 9.
  22. ^ "Science Digest". 1958. p. 44.
  23. ^ Blame Canada and Molson for brilliant 'Rant' at States, Advertising Age, May 08, 2000
  24. ^ English Language & Usage:"Is there any difference between 'plaid' and 'tartan'?"
  25. ^ "plaid", Collins English Dictionary.
  26. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition. Melbourne: The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. 2005. ISBN 1-876429-14-3.
  27. ^ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster. 2004. ISBN 087779930X.
  28. ^ Story, George Morley, et. al, Dictionary of Newfoundland English (Toronto, University of Toronto Press:1982), "Newfoundland", p. 344.
  29. ^ Merriam-Webster Audio File, Regina
  30. ^ "You heard what? Because Jon Ryan went to University of Regina". CJME. February 2, 2015.
  31. ^ "Casino shuffles the pack with revamp". blackpoolgazette.co.uk.
  32. ^ Jones, Daniel, eds. P.Roach, J.Setter and J.Esling Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary, 18th Edition, 2011, Cambridge University Press
  33. ^ "New York Bookshelf; An Oddly Named Street, A Dark Night, a Gamy Club". The New York Times. Feb 8, 2004. p. CY12.
  34. ^ "Nevada County - Encyclopedia of Arkansas". encyclopediaofarkansas.net.
  35. ^ Connelly, Dolly (Mar 1, 1970). "Mush!...And Then Some: A Tour Of The Great Northwest". Los Angeles Times West Magazine. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times: 20–30.
  36. ^ Greiner, Tony; Bridgewater, Rachel (2014). "Portland: An eclectic introduction". College & Research Libraries News. 75 (8): 422–426.
  37. ^ Green, Julia (Aug 25, 2010). "Idaho Pronunciation Guide – Say it like a local". Boise Weekly.
  38. ^ "Quincy, MA - 404". Quincyma.gov. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  39. ^ "Facts for Kids: Miami Indians (Miamis)". Bigorrin.org. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  40. ^ http://www.hicksville-ohio.com/History/history2.htm
  41. ^ [1][dead link]
  42. ^ Walls, David (2006). "Appalachia." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press), pp. 1006–07.
  43. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1993), p. 102.
  44. ^ "Don't Call It Frisco". SFGate.
  45. ^ "Don't Call It Frisco: The History of San Francisco's Nicknames". The Bold Italic.
  46. ^ ""The" Freeway in Southern California" (PDF). American Speech.
  47. ^ "Roadshow: The Debate on Highway Names Roars On". The San Jose Mercury News.
  48. ^ "Why Southern Californians Say "The" Before Freeway Numbers". Mental Floss.
  49. ^ "National? Reagan? DCA? 17 years later, locals still can't agree on the name of the airport in question". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-12.