Snow, and Some Nifty Words

Surprise of all surprises, it finally snowed, to show that something resembling winter still does exist in this part of the world. I guess Tottori's winter begins in January now. I'm still impaired by my upbringing in New York, and my instinct expects snow to begin in late November and be almost finished by January. I also expect temperatures to begin cooling down in August, rather than it being the hottest month of the year. I can't help that orientation, no matter how long I'm here.

A woman from Brazil, just having experienced snow for the first time in her life, remarked on how it was surprisingly soft to the touch. She also said building a snowman was difficult. I can't really imagine what that must be like, having been snowed on almost since I was born.

There must be other things that people from warm places know, that the rest of us don't grasp. It is said that Inuit languages have scores of words for different types of snow, while languages that grew from desert cultures in Africa have but one word for rain, snow, hail, slush, and sleet.

Here's a neat little page with a list of 25 words that don't exist in English, featuring a nostalgic screen shot from Lost in Translation. My pick is the verb 'tingo' from a language in Easter Island: The word means 'to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour's house until there is nothing left'. I think we should incorporate that one into English, while not necessarily encouraging the behaviour.

Now go play in the snow.