Thursday, July 30, 2009
I'm so disappointed. I had always believed that the Inuit had a zillion words for "snow," a reflection of their more constant connection with all things snowy. When I googled it, I found out that, really, they have no more words than we do to express snowiness, but, linguistically, there are good reasons for the myth, reasons, I don't want to explain here. If you like that sort of thing, you can check out the following article that I found interesting.It ends with a few references for further study. Okay, I confess, this is the kind of thing that I really enjoy reading. I'm such a nerd. http://www.derose.net/steve/guides/snowwords/
So, anyway, the whole search came about because of something that several people have written to me. That is, while we have words for those who have lost a spouse and those who have lost parents, we have no word to label the person who has lost a child. Language develops because of human need for a word to express a concept. Why is there no word for parent-whose-child-has-died? Because humans don't need it? Or because it is so unusual? Or because we don't want it?
I wonder if there is a language that has a word for parent-whose-child-has died? If such a language exists, what does that say about that culture and society? How sad is their history?