February 14th, 2010


Perhaps any veracity in the myth regarding the allegedly endless words Eskimos have for snow (first perpetuated in Franz Boas‘ 1911 The Handbook of North American Indians) would simply reflect a need to stamp back the boredom of talking about it for weeks and months on end.

Valentine’s Day Greetings to you, from a hasn’t-been-frozen-enough-to-walk-across-in-thirty-years Wannsee Lake. Much serious ponder on our looong afternoon hike across the ice–all big ticket items were covered–as we took turns freaking each other out. But it’s cool, we have it allll figured out now. Plus a sighting of the chalet Ali’s class visited for a week-long school trip each autumn oh so many moons ago. And…galloping dogs! People on skis! Actual sunbeams! My first snow angel! A romantic and clear-eyed kinda day.


Eskimos do have a lot of words for snow, as do English-speakers. Some words in Inuktitut for your linguistic pleasure: sikko (ice), tingenek (bare ice), aput (snow), pukak (snow like salt), mauja ( soft deep snow), tipvigut (snowdrift), massak (soft snow), mangokpok (watery snow), massalerauvok (snow filled with water), and akkilokipok (soft snow). (source: Friedrich Erdman’s Eskimo-German, 1925.)


Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Sash Lewis.