Eskimo Snow words (Was:Navajo code-talkers (Was: Trolls))
|From:||Tim May <butsuri@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, July 6, 2002, 20:24|
Stephen DeGrace writes:
> --- In conlang@y..., Nik Taylor <fortytwo@G...> wrote:
> > but I'm sure that's an
> > urban legend of the same caliber as the 50,000 (or
> whatever the figure
> > is now) Eskimo words for snow. :-)
> That's a grossly inflated figure. The actual number is
> 907 words for snow in Inuktitut. Extremely useful
> vocabulary in the burgeoning Canadian igloo industry,
> of course... you try constructing a 47 story igloo in
> downtown Toronto without some highly technical
> snow-related vocabulary...
Seriously now, there aren't anything like that many _roots_ referring
to snow in any of the Eskimo languages. The fact that they're
polysynthetic means you could probably get any number you wanted
through derivation. The number of snow-related roots is possibly
_lower_ than in English - certainly there's no great difference.
(I'd imagine most of conlang already knows this, including Stephen
DeGrace (Note to self - determine a word in LC-01 meaning "the one to
whom this is a response").)
I must get Pullum's book sometime.