words for snow

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 6 07:48:50 UTC 2014


> Mentioning his observations in the introduction to his 1911 book
> "Handbook of American Indian Languages," he ignited the claim that
> Eskimos have dozens, or even hundreds, of words for snow. Although the
> idea continues to capture public imagination, most linguists
> considered it an urban legend, born of sloppy scholarship and
> journalistic exaggeration. Some have even gone as far as to name it
> the Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax. The latest evidence, however,
> suggests that Boas was right all along.
> ...
> For many of these dialects, the vocabulary associated with sea ice is
> even richer.
> ...
> The Sami also have as many as 1,000 words for reindeer. These refer to
> such things as the reindeer’s fitness (“leami” means a short, fat
> female reindeer), personality (“njirru” is an unmanageable female) and
> the shape of its antlers (“snarri” is a reindeer whose antlers are
> short and branched). There is even a Sami word to describe a bull with
> a single, very large testicle: “busat.”


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