'Avalanche' Has 200-Year Word History

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Fri Oct 13 14:29:24 UTC 2000

FYI. See the full article at

"SNOW JOB?: 'Avalanche' Has 200-Year Word History

                    BY BRIAN MAFFLY
                    THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

                        BIG SKY, Mont. -- A fruitful
place to start a cultural study of natural phenomena
is the Oxford English Dictionary. That is where
Bernard Mergen launched his exploration into
Americans' literary relationship with avalanches after
being invited to address a recent workshop on snow
science at this Montana ski community.  Mergen, a
professor of American studies at George Washington
University, learned the earliest appearances of the
word "avalanche" in English occurred more than two
centuries ago by tourists who used French and Italian
words to describe the billowing cascades of snow they
witnessed while crossing the Alps. ...."

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