THE LAZ HAZELNUT SHIBBOLETH.

Joel of Far Outliers tells a fascinating story about the Laz, a people of the Caucasus who have wound up in northeastern Turkey, and the unfortunate situation they find themselves in, quoting from Michael E. Meeker’s “The Black Sea Turks: Some Aspects of Their Ethnic and Cultural Background,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 2 (1971):318-345:

It is said that the Laz when conscripted [by the Turkish state] are automatically placed in the navy … because Anatolians associate Black Sea men with the sea, even though many of them have little or no experience as sailors or fishermen. The eastern Black Sea men, realizing that the period of service for the navy is three years, while that for the army is only two, naturally try to hide their origins, but the recruiting officer simply asks each man to pronounce the word ‘hazlenut.’

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Comments

  1. So much shorter than “It’s a braw, bricht starlicht nicht, the nicht”.

  2. “The Laz Hazelnut Shibboleth”. What a great name for a prog rock band.

  3. A.J.P. Crown says:

    It’s shameful that only two people have offered their opinion on hazelnuts and anchovies — two of the world’s greatest foods, incidently — while over at Hungarian Yous there are more than three-hundred comments. You can’t eat Hungarian yous. That’s all I’ve got to say.

  4. But you can eat Hungarian ewes.

  5. Tell that to MMcM.

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