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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.