Saturday, 18 December 2010

Dreaming of a white Christmas

It's snowing again. Yes, it is. It's snowing. In fact, it's been snowing since November so the chances of us not having a white Christmas this year are very slim. At Christmas, it should be snowy I think. It's all part of the romanticism. But I can happily skip it the rest of the winter. Swedes will tell you that it's better than rain. I disagree. They often justify it by saying that snow brightens up the darkness. True but I'm still not a big fan.

It's no suprise that Sweden is a snowy country and this close relation to snow is reflected in the language. The eskimos have, apparently, 40 words for 'snow'. I'm not sure how many words in Swedish there are for snow, but there are many. There's just 'snow', then there's 'wet snow' (blötsnö), 'snow-blended rain'(snöblandad regn), 'powder snow' (pudersnö), 'slush' (slask), ´corn snow´ (kornsnö), snow hail'(snöhagel) and loads more.

And then there are fabulous words such as 'skare' which means snow crust and, my personal favourite, 'dagsmeja'. This is snow that is melting on a sunny day even though it's below freezing. Above freezing is thawing. 'Kramsnö' is the type of snow perfect for snowballs and 'isnålar' are small snow crystals that seem to float in the air.

I wonder how many words we have in English for rain?

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