We’ve talked before about surprising local pronunciations of things like towns or streets. A term or pronunciation that distinguishes locals from outsiders is called a shibboleth. The word derives from the biblical story of the warring Gileadites and Ephraimites. Gileadites would demand that fleeing Ephraimites pronounce the word shibboleth in a certain way, and if they could not, because their own language pronounced it a different way, they were exposed as the enemy and executed on the spot. This is part of a complete episode.
- Dirty Laundry (#episode 1520) 03/11/2019: When you had sleepovers as a child, what did you call the makeshift beds you made on the floor? In some places, you call those... [more]
- Keep Your Powder Dry (episode #1519) 02/25/2019: Jacuzzi and silhouette are eponyms — that is, they derive from the names of people. An Italian immigrant to California invented the bubbly hot tub... [more]
- One-Armed Paper Hanger (episode #1518) 02/18/2019: The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their time better... [more]
- Hair on Your Tongue (episode #1517) 02/11/2019: If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This... [more]
- Train of Thought (episode #1516) 02/04/2019: Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, such as the... [more]