List of Shibboleth Names


The blog 454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157 provides a “list of shibboleth names”—mispronounced names of cultural VIPs “by which the privileged judge their inferiors.” It reminded me of a conversation I had a long time ago with a rather distinguished professor of philosophy, in her office, that went something like this:

Me: So I was wondering if you could provide me with some advice about which courses I should take.
Prof: Alright.
Me: Do you think I should take this class on Fraysh, Russell, and Wittgenstein?
Prof: Do you mean Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein?
Me: Uh. Um. Yes?
Prof: …
Me: That was kind of embarrassing.
Prof: Yes. Yes it was.

Anyway, while Frege’s name is not on the list (it should be!) other philosophers make an appearance, along with the correct pronunciation of their names, including:

Augustine of Hippo (aw-gus-tin)
Walter Benjamin (ben-yameen)
W.E.B. DuBois (duh-boyz)
Johann Gottlieb Fichte (feesh-tuh)
Saul Kripke (krip-key) [really, people are getting this one wrong? I know, who am I to talk?]

Charles Sanders Peirce (purse)
Plotinus (ploh-tine-us)
Ayn Rand (well-fare recipient)
Simone Weil (vay)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (vittgenshtain/vittgenshtein)

Feel free to suggest others.

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