Just in case you're as sick of hearing about Christmas songs as I, I thought tonight I'd write about something else I'm a little sick of just now: snow.
It is, I learned just now, a myth that Eskimos have 500 words for snow, according to Word Myths by David Wilton. For one thing, Eskimo is a blanket term that people who aren't from arctic regions have made up to describe the many different groups of people who live in the arctic. So there is no Eskimo language, first of all, there are just a bunch of languages that people whom we consider Eskimos speak. Also, there aren't 500 words for snow. Somebody back at the turn of the last century reported that Eskimos have like, 4 words for snow, and then somebody else said 7, and then inflation happened and now it's all Eskimos talk about. People in arctic regions do have a bunch of words for the different types of snow - sleet, slush, hard pack, etc. But then so do we.
Now I've heard, and maybe Wilton will go on to prove me wrong as I continue to read, that ancient Greeks had no word for religion, because religion just was. Just so much a part of life you didn't need a word for it. You'd think, then, that arctic peoples would, in fact, have no word for snow.