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Eskimo snow around the world

From Iceland, via Thor Lawrence, a Zits cartoon (from a free daily newspaper) with Eskimo snow words in it:

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Scots words for snow

Several people have sent this in: "Scots 'have 421 words' for snow", BBC News 9/23/2015: Academics have officially logged 421 terms – including "snaw" (snow), "sneesl" (to begin to rain or snow) and "skelf" (a large snowflake). The study by the University of Glasgow is part of a project to compile the first Historical Thesaurus […]

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Snowclone of the week

Melissa Holbrook Pierson, "What Is Your Dog Telling You? They may not use words, but dogs say a lot more than we realize with their body language", WSJ 5/11/2015: For the same reason that Eskimos purportedly have 50 different words for snow, dogs have a vast repertoire of gestures for appeasement and propitiation. The Norwegian […]

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Snowclone blizzard

Elif Batuman, "The Awkward Age", The New Yorker 9/9/2014: As the Eskimos were said to have seven words for snow, today's Americans have a near-infinite vocabulary for gradations of awkwardness—there are some six hundred entries in Urban Dictionary. Since the Eskimo snow word count has been dialed back to a mere seven here, its value seems […]

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Snowclone of the day

Sent in by A.C. from NZ: My ISP's sign-on page has a 'daily picture', accompanied by some surprising(?) trivia. (Usually the surprise is how strained is the link to the picture and how badly they twist the language — often ending up misusing language in some way or other — this one is itself an […]

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Bad science reporting again: the Eskimos are back

You just can't keep a bad idea down. And you just can't lift the level of bad science journalism up. David Robson of New Scientist, in a piece published in that pop science rag a couple of weeks ago (issue of 22/29 December 2012, p. 72; behind a pay wall) and now also published in the […]

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Snow words in the comics

Coincidentally, two syndicated comic strips running today riff off of the old "Eskimo words for snow" canard. In Darby Conley's "Get Fuzzy," Satchel the dog discovers that "cats are like the Eskimos of laziness": And in Jef Mallett's "Frazz," one of the "really really false" statements on Mr. Burke's quiz is "The Inuit have 100 […]

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Eskimos again, this time seeing the invisible

"As Eskimos do with snow," wrote Emma Brockes yesterday in a New York Times review of Alan Hollinghurst's new novel (and the hairs rose on the back of my neck as I saw those words), "the English see gradations of social inadequacy invisible to the rest of the world; Mr. Hollinghurst separates them with a […]

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The snowclone silly season opens

Winter has definitely come to Scotland. It is cold, and when light first returns to the sky around 9 a.m. I can see snow on the cars outside my apartment that have driven in from out of town. The winter silly season in the UK newspapers has begun. Here is Charles Nevin in a putatively […]

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"Don't you know it's not just the Eskimo"

Last month, in the post "'Words for snow' watch," I reported that Kate Bush's new album (out Nov. 21) is called 50 Words for Snow. I wrote, "It's unclear at this point exactly how Eskimos will figure into Bush's songwriting, but it's safe to say they'll be in there somewhere." Today, thanks to NPR's stream […]

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"Words for snow" watch

It's been a while since we've rounded up public appearances of the old "Eskimo words for snow" myth. Here are a few recent examples that have been sent in to Language Log Plaza. Item #1: The singer-songwriter Kate Bush will be releasing a new album on Nov. 21 with the title (sigh) 50 Words for […]

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Meta-snowclones for gastro-geeks

The granddaddy of all snowclones has often been expressed here at Language Log Plaza as a formula with variables: If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z. So it's pleasing to see this iteration of the ur-snowclone, from Jeff Potter's new book, Cooking for Geeks (p. 258): If Eskimos […]

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Fashionably many Icelandic words for snow

Spotted by Jonathan Lighter on a recent trip to Iceland: "A big ad for 66°North fashions, prominently displayed at Keflavik Airport, telling passengers everywhere that There are over [a] 100 words for snow in Icelandic. Only one for what to wear."

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