Appendix:List of shibboleths

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This appendix lists shibboleths: words and phrases whose pronunciations are used to identify a language or dialect.

English[edit]

Boston accent[edit]

English accents[edit]

Southern USA accent[edit]

  • nice white rice
    • exhibits the monophthongisation of the digraph /aɪ̯/ as [aː]

Danish[edit]


Dutch[edit]


French[edit]

  • un bon vin blanc ‎(a good white whine)
    • IPA(key): /œ̃.bɔ̃.vɛ̃.blɑ̃/
    • Used to showcase the four French nasal vowels.

Hebrew[edit]

  • שיבולת \ שִׁבֹּלֶת ‎(sh'bolet) (ear of grain).
    • The original shibboleth, mentioned in Judges 12:5–6 of the Hebrew scriptures/Christian Old Testament as a word that was used to detect Ephraimites fleeing a military defeat, because they couldn't pronounce it the way those from other tribes did.

Portuguese[edit]

Southern Brazilian accent[edit]


Russian[edit]

  • доро́га ‎(doróga) (Used to check German spies during World War II, German soldiers had difficulty pronouncing Russian /r/ and voiced consonants.) (Vasily Zaytsev, Behind the Volga there was no land for us. Sniper's Notes, First published in 1981.)

Spanish[edit]


West Frisian[edit]