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Language of the Eskimos

By unknown | Oct 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Z Mapazi would like to know about the indigenous language of Eskimos?

Z Mapazi would like to know about the indigenous language of Eskimos?

There isn't just one Eskimo language. The people we refer to as Eskimos speak a variety of languages in the Inuit and Yupik language families. You sometimes hear that Eskimos have dozens (or even hundreds) of words for snow. People often use this claim to show that the way we view the world and the way we talk about it are closely related. But it's not true that Eskimos have numerous words for snow. If we pick a single dialect of a single language, we won't find much evidence that it has more words for snow than English does. What counts as a word? In English, we can combine words to get snowball and snowflake, and we can add endings to get snowed and snowing. The Eskimo languages have far more word-forming processes than English does, so a single root word (like snow) could be the basis for hundreds of related words. It hardly seems fair to count each one of these separately. If you only count the roots, you'll find that these languages aren't that different from English. After all, English has lots of words for snow. We've got snow, sleet, slush, frost, blizzard, avalanche, drift, powder and flurry.;;


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