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----- 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 (http://www.amazon.com/Eskimo-Vocabulary-Irreverent-Essays-Language/dp/0226685349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246509052&sr=1-1).

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