venerdì, agosto 25, 2006

The Eskimo languages have two root words for snow: ‘qanik’, which means snow in the air, and ‘aput,’ which means snow on the ground. Modifying nouns can be added to these root words to create more words, but root words in any language can be modified indefinitely by adding new endings. Think of snow in English (snowfall, snowdrift, snowshoe, etc.). The idea that Eskimo languages have more words for snow has been traced to a 1940 article by Benjamin Lee Worf in Technology Review in which he said that there were seven different words for snow in Eskimo (he never said what those words were).

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