----- Original Message ----

> From: J. Burke <[log in to unmask]>
> I know next to nothing about the Eskimo-Aleut languages, but IS this an urban 
> legend?  Obviously, while there aren't 20+ roots for snow, these being highly 
> synthetic languages (on the order of Mohawk, I'm told), there very well could be 
> dozens of different words for snow, encompassing different types, etc., all 
> built from the same root (or a few different roots).  How many attested Eskimo 
> words are there for snow?  Anyone know?

Geoffrey Pullum addresses the myth in The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax (

The "Eskimos have 20/50/100 words for snow" comment is usually said in a way that would imply separate roots, and usually ignores that English has quite a few roots for types of semifrozen crystallized water (snow, slush, hail, sleet, ice, rime, frost, etc.).

-- Paul