Skip to comments.There really are 50 Eskimo words for ‘snow’
Posted on 03/30/2014 11:50:07 PM PDT by kingattax
Anthropologist Franz Boas didnt mean to spark a century-long argument. Traveling through the icy wastes of Baffin Island in northern Canada during the 1880s, Boas simply wanted to study the life of the local Inuit people, joining their sleigh rides, trading caribou skins and learning their folklore.
As he wrote proudly to his fiancee, I am now truly like an Eskimo. . . . I scarcely eat any European foodstuffs any longer but am living entirely on seal meat.
He was particularly intrigued by their language, noting the elaborate terms used to describe the frozen landscape: aqilokoq for softly falling snow and piegnartoq for the snow [that is] good for driving sled, to name just two.
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
What is the Eskimo word for “yellow snow?”
Don’t forget ‘Algoracrock’ for ‘rotten snow caused by the evil white man’.
I can see why.
In New Hampshire, I noticed at least these:
heart attack snow (plowing/shoveling heavy driveway snow)
light and fluffy snow
snow of good enough consistency that you could make snowballs and snowforts
heavy and wet snow
snow formed from moisture in the air freezing in extreme cold
blowing sideways snow
snow that turned to ice because you didn’t plow it in time
snow that kept coming in April and May
snow that came in October before the leaves fell and caused downed powerlines and use of generator for 2 weeks
You mean this debate raged on for decades before they thought of... asking Eskimos??
He also wrote a fascinating book about the seven seas concerning ocean currents and so forth.
Altogether, a very interesting man.
Big deal. In new york we also have multiple words for snow:
I know one Eskimo word - “Demecret - One who steals the reward of hard work from a person and gives it to another in exchange for a vote”
here’s another one for you :
“algore” - what you find on the ice after a polar bear squats.
Shxt it's snowing again?
I hate this shxt
Nasty azz snow
LOL beat me to it.
Remember Nanook Carlson’s famous bit:
“The 50 words for snow you can’t say on television”
When I lived in Puerto Rico I actually had a kid, Fred Duncan, who was an Eskimo from Alaska. I don’t know about “snow” but I wonder if he had 50 different words for “bacalao frito?”
When I took my arctic engineering course to get my Alaska Professional Engineer license, we discussed 27 different types of ice.
Oops! I didn’t have an eskimo kid myself. Meant to say I had an Eskimo kid in my school class.
Universal word for snow burrrrr.
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