Why The Eskimos Have 53 Words for Snow

Language reflects culture. Speaking a new language gives you a new pair of glasses to look at the world. This is my philosophy with English mastery too.

If you want to master English, you need to master the Anglo-Saxon way of seeing the world, their culture and mentality.

But what does it all mean in practical life?

It’s enough to look at the Eskimos. Canadian Eskimos have 53 words for “snow”lake-2067760_1280, while Siberian Eskimos have 40.

They have a separate word for “wet snow that can be used to ice a sleigh’s runners” (matsaaruti) or for “the crystalline powder snow that looks like salt” (pukak).

Can you imagine between how many different types of snow they can distinguish?  

They also have about 70 terms for “ice”. “Ice filled with holes” (auniq) is different from “the patchwork layer of crystals that forms as the sea begins to freeze” (siguliaksraq).

Altogether, Eskimos can distinguish between more than a hundred different types of ice and snow.

They have such a deep knowledge of snow and ice that one scientist confessed that he got to the same level of understanding after 30 years of research.

If you want to master Eskimo (which you probably don’t), then you need to understand their worldview, which is largely made up of snow, ice and raindeers.

The same goes for every language – it comes from a unique culture and you need to master a new worldview to speak it like a native speaker.

The good news is that English doesn’t have 40 terms for snow and ice, thanks God. But English also offers many distinctions that other languages don’t have. Most English words encode something from Anglo-Saxon culture.

Indignation, leverage, purposeful, clarity, partial, biased – just a few English words without exact counterparts in other languages. There are hundreds more, if not thousands.

If you want to express your ideas and emotions in English like a native speaker, check out our ebook and get a free lesson of our course. It’s all about learning to use language like a native speaker as well as understanding the true culture and meaning behind English.