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On Jul 1, 2009, at 8◊04 PM, J. Burke wrote:

> --- On Wed, 7/1/09, Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> From: Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: Holly Lisle's Create A Language Clinic
>>
>> To be fair to her, that's not something I'd throw the
>> entire book out over, since she's not pretending to be a
>> linguist; it's not necessary to be a proficient linguist in
>> order to be a successful conlanger, although it does help in
>> several ways.
>>
>> I just wish that particular urban legend would die already.
>
> 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?


In a sense, yes.  Inuktitut has hundreds of derivational and
inflectional suffixes that can be combined to create new words
from old roots.

But if this *is* the sense in which the myth is conveyed, then
"Eskimo" also has a thousand words for caribou, a thousand
words for man, a thousand words for woman, etc.

-David
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"A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
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-Jim Morrison

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