Monday, February 25, 2008

Ice and Snow Words

Ice CrystalsI've been thinking about ice, because although it warmed up yesterday, it froze over again today. In the photo above, the black blob in the lower center is a boot for scale, about 2 inches wide (in the mining industry, I do metric mostly when overseas). This little batch of large and small ice crystals got me to thinking about the supposedly hundreds of words in the Inuit language for snow.

Snow is a form of ice. Once, while visiting a cold, oft-frozen northern state (oh, alright, that would be Alaska), I came up with a long list of ice words used in the English language, although admittedly, many of the words are from other languages (like sastrugi; also see sastrugi here and here). The list got into glacial words and terminology, including processes, formations, and deposits, and it also got into various meteorological words, skiing words, and ice-climbing words. For example, if you've ever skied in the western U.S., you probably know what "Sierra cement" is. If not, be glad you don't!

Anyway, I don't have that list handy - it's on another computer, and it may be in some Old Mac format, still compatible with Word, I hope. I found, however, a list that at least shows that English isn't too spare in the snow and ice categories, afterall.

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