Advice from Geoffrey Pullum, when faced with people who tell you that Eskimos have multiple words for “snow”:
Stand up and tell the speaker this: C.W. Schultz-Lorentzen’s Dictionary of the West Greenlandic Eskimo Language (1927) gives just two possibly relevant roots: qanik, meaning ‘snow in the air’ or ‘snowflake’, and aput, meaning ‘snow on the ground’. Then add that you would be interested to know if the speaker can cite any more.
G. K. Pullum : The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 7: 275-281. Available from here.
C. W. Schultz-Lorentzen : Dictionary of the West Greenlandic Eskimo Language. Meddelelser om Grønland, 69, Reitzels, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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