From: Douglas Brooker (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 11 Apr 2006 - 16:50:07 GMT
Chris Taylor wrote:
> So living a (teeny tiny) bit like the Innuit (i.e. surrounded by snow
> a lot) drives you to expand your snow-related vocab...
the eskimo example might be a bit mythic. a better one for scholarly
use might be the size of the vocabulary available to describe the
texture and colour of cow hides amongst the gauchos of Argentina.
sorry, I don't have a cite for this. (Steiner, After Babel, maybe?)
> Does mental swamping by an aspect of life always predispose us to
> subdivide? In this case I suppose long exposure makes for greater
> opportunities to observe and subclassify, and a more prolonged
> favourable environment for such words to demonstrate their fitness. I
> know what you mean by powdery snow and may even have used the phrase,
> but I'm not sure I have an equivalent to packing snow...
you'd know it soon as you touch it. it also has a real distinctive
sound/feel when you pack it. like a hearing a sound with the sense of
touch. strange. Canadian kids (many/most?) can tell straight away when
they look out the window and see snow falling whether it's 'good'
packing snow. Of course I only speak about English Canada - don't ask
about the Quebecois term.
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