Friday, December 12, 2008
I don’t need 100 words for snow...
Popular legend says there are hundreds of Inuit words for snow, although linguistics scholars peg the number at probably closer to a dozen. In the English language we tend to be a bit less descriptive and have only a few terms for the white stuff, relying instead on a wide range of adjectives to provide a precise narrative - squeeky snow, fluffy snow, fresh snow, and so on.
And when our feelings towards snow are not that positive we can simply combine one of those few English words ('snow' works well) with any of the dozen or so pejorative adjectives commonly applied to it (‘damned’ being one of the least objectionable) singly or in combination to get approximately 874,216 negative snow-related expressions.
I used most of them this morning.
Lesson of the day: do not stand under a 100-foot snow-laden pine tree when the wind blows.
I had snow so far down my back I had to shake my shorts out and my socks got wet.