Yupik words for snow

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 11 19:32:12 UTC 2014

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm still tracking "words for snow" but I've mostly stopped posting them
> because much of the material is basically recycled. There are now even
> chlichéed sub-snowclones, e.g., "As Eskimos/Inuits have
> hundreds/40/50/72 words for snow, the English/Scots/Canadians have words
> for rain/fog/foul weather", "... Jews/Yiddish have/has words for crazy",
> etc. But I've only seen Yupiks mentioned once before and this piece is
> so over-the-top with multiple cliche, I thought I should post an extract:
> http://goo.gl/HhQnPZ
> Snow threatens Miller time but all white for Ligety
>> According to one study, the Yupik dialect in central Siberia contains
>> around 50 words for snow, whether it be the fluffy stuff, the mushy
>> type or just the downright slippery variety.
>> Some of those descriptions might come in handy at the Sochi Olympics
>> Alpine skiing center over the next few days where snow conditions are
>> dominating conversations and dividing opinions among the world's top
>> racers.

I wonder if the "Yupik has 50 words for snow" variation on the meme
was inspired by Kate Bush's 2011 song "50 Words for Snow" (on the
album of the same name), in which Stephen Fry makes a guest appearance
as Prof. Yupik:



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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