Definitions

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a prosthesis that replaces a missing leg

Etymologies

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Examples

Comments

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  • Actually I heard it was the Swedes (or was it Norwegians?) who have a dozen words for different types of snow. Which seems logical enough to be true--after all, a skier might just as easily have a dozen words for different kinds of snow--because they might be useful in communication.

    December 2, 2007

  • What you need is an amputee female chauffeur who drives left-footed.

    December 2, 2007

  • I can't decide which I want more, an Amuptee Woman or a Left Foot Driving Device.

    December 2, 2007

  • True story.

    I don't think it's much use comparing Inuktitut to English in terms of vocabulary as one has a very limited geographical and cultural range while the other is a major international language that has hoovered up vocabulary from around the planet for hundreds of years. I don't doubt that Inuktitut typically has far more ways of talking about snow than, say, Balinese, or that if you kidnapped a few volunteers from Bali and dumped them in Inuit lands that their language would soon acquire more ways of speaking about snow.

    December 1, 2007

  • Google would like to invite visitors to this word's comments to check out the following:

    Amputee Woman
    Get Amputee Woman Search for Amputee Woman.

    Left Foot Driving Device
    Device That Allow People To Be Abel To Drive Using There Left Foot.


    In other news, why does everyone pick on the Whorfians so much? The whole Eskimo-snow thing just seems like a classic example of the careless amplification in the popular media of some originally sloppy scholarship. It's a straw man as far as validity of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is concerned, IMO.

    December 1, 2007

  • True story Bilby, that happened to you? I often find myself explaining to people how Eskimo's (their term, I'm told Inuit is correct) don't really have hundreds of words for snow when English only has one. This is a gross misunderstanding of language, and really some sort of anthropological hoax perpetrated by the Whorfians.

    December 1, 2007

  • I was once called upon to justify a language that supposedly had only 6,000 words. Firstly I said that was a lousy estimate; not having counted exhaustively means there might be far words than that. Secondly I mentioned the grammar. Most headwords can take any number of suffixes and so the 6,000 words are in theory able to multiplied several times. I then attempted to outline the 'cockatoo principle'. Let's say that in the real world there are two birds. In Language X for argument's sake they are called flommit and garrbet; in English they are called black cockatoo and white cockatoo. So, language X requires 2 words to describe the birds while English requires 3. Should we say that English is more sophisticated, or simply inefficient? The real answer is that Language X sees the world in a different way to English and that less or more words is not the issue. This wasn't convincing enough for Fred. He had to re-write the Language Policy and he needed something more. Something local, something relevant. "Alright then," I said. "I'll give you pegleg." "What?" he replied. "A walkie-talkie. Actually Pegleg was the callsign of a radio-operator during the war. The locals heard it so often that they thought it was the name of the portable radio he held in has hand. So, pegleg. It's beautiful. It has the same the kind of reduplication as walkie-talkie, or even a cliche of the airwaves like may-day. They didn't invent this word, Fred, but they made it a citizen and crowned it with glory. It defines the concepts of their world and their history. There is no other word that can do even half as good a job. If you don't let them keep their pegleg you might as well rip their hearts out." Fred wrote a very good language policy in which provision was made to preserve the local language, even at the expense of English in the early years of primary school. The missing leg is still there.

    November 30, 2007