An easy way to get a sense of whether or not someone is a musical insider is to have him say the word “timbre.” This is because musicians generally pronounce the first syllable of that word differently than non-musicians. “Timbre” is therefore a shibboleth—a word whose pronunciation can be used to distinguish between groups. The word has its origins in the Bible, which recounts the killing of 42,000 fugitive soldiers identified by their pronunciation of “shibboleth.” How did they say it? More… Discuss

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2 responses to “ARTICLE: “SHIBBOLETH”

  1. Thanks for linking to’s Story of the Day at LOVE your article about shibboleth!


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