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Bah.
The linguist Geoffrey Pullum in his book The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax talks
about how the whole question got started and then mentions:
<quote>
        When you pose a question as ill-defined as "How many Eskimo words for
snow are there?" Woodbury observes, you run into major problems not just
determining the answer to the apparently empirical "How many" part but with the
other parts: how to interpret the terms "Eskimo", "words", and "for snow". All
of them are problematic.
</quote>
        So he goes on to talk about defining those terms, and makes a
distinction between unanalyzable roots (snow, slush) and derived words
(snowflake, snowstorm). He analyzes some of the proposed words for snow as not
having the root 'snow' in them at all, and concludes with:
<quote>
        Don't be a coward like me. Stand up and tell the speaker this: C. W.
Schultz-Lorentzen's _Dictinary of the WEst Greenlandic Eskimo Language_ (1927)
gives just possibly two relevant roots: _qanik_ meaning 'snow in the air' or
'snowflake', and _aput_ meaning 'snow on the ground'. THen add that you would
be interested to know if the speaker can cite any more.
</quote>
This is taken from the book:
The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax
Geoffrey Pullum
U Chicago Press 1991
0-226-68534-9

On Tue, 13 Jun 2000, you wrote:
> hmmm....
> the Eskimo Snow question in a whole new light (their attempted Eskimo
> sentence at the end)
>
> http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_297
>
>
> -Stephen (Steg)
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Sylvia Sotomayor
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