words for snow (reply)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 6 15:13:58 UTC 2014

See also Pullum's riposte:


On Jan 6, 2014, at 2:48 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> Groan!
> http://goo.gl/a7iP4
>> 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.”
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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