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On Wed, 14 Jun 2000, you wrote:
> Sylvia Sotomayor wrote:
> >
> > Yeah, okay, I just wonder how many of those words in the StraightDope answer
> > actually contain one of the two roots for snow.
>
> I noticed two contained the syllable "taq", I wonder if that's a root,
> or mere co-incidence?  But, other than that, they appear to be
> unrelated, at least at a glance.  If they use any kind of ablaut, then
> there's several others that may be related, like _hiko_ and the _hiku-_
> of _hikuliaq_.  Eight of the seventeen end in -aq, I wonder if that has
> a meaning, or just more co-incidence?
>
> But, of course, some of these words refer to _ice_, rather than _snow_.
> And is certainly a lot less than "hundreds", as has been claimed by
> some.

Dunno. Pullum gives an example of the word igluksaq which is glossed as 'snow
for igloo making' on someone's list somewhere. He says it actually comes from
iglu 'house and -ksaq 'material for', so in a way it shouldn't really count as
a word for snow. Another example is saumavuq which has been glossed as 'covered
in snow, but is really just a verb form meaning 'it is covered'. Other words
have been grammaticized to refer to snow, even though they don't have any of
the proper roots, such as nutaryug- 'new snow' coming from nutar- 'new' and
-yug- 'what tends to be' or together 'new stuff'...

>
> And he goes on to say that they have "20 words for trout", without any
> examples.  Hmm, is there gonna be a "Great Eskimo Trout Hoax", now, with
> people claiming hundreds of words?  ;-)
>

That'd be something! Pullum, and even Cecil Adams, point out quite rightly that
any language with a large descriptive vocabulary is going to come up with
multiple words for something.

Anyway, I recommend Pullum's book highly, if only for the essay on the words
for snow and also for the lovely conversation between Chomsky and Mr. Spock.

>
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Sylvia Sotomayor
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