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Old 20.09.2011, 08:39
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Word for first snow on mountains?

Looking at the first new snow on the Alps here, I'm reminded that back home we used to call this 'termination dust', i.e. sort of an unofficial sign marking the end of summer. Do the Swiss (in any of their tongues) have a similiar word or phrase meaning the same thing?
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Old 20.09.2011, 09:42
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

I don't know but a) it looks pretty and b) that northerly wind is blinking cold!!
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Old 20.09.2011, 09:47
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

isn't there some arctic culture somewhere with like 1,000 words for snow?
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Old 20.09.2011, 09:49
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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isn't there some arctic culture somewhere with like 1,000 words for snow?
I think that's the Inuits.
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Old 20.09.2011, 10:20
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

That has been debunked time and again.
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Old 20.09.2011, 23:17
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

As a french-speaking local, for "first snow on mountains" I would say:
- Première neige sur les crêtes.
We see/hear that too on the TV weatherforecast.
For the moment, I can't think of any special phrase/words for that.

In the canton Valais/Wallis people living in resorts might say:
- Arrivée de l'or blanc (meaning "snow is monney for us")

Interesting thread.
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Old 20.09.2011, 23:42
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

Agreed FMX- there is no 1 word for first snow.

Lots of French words for different types of snow though.
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Old 20.09.2011, 23:58
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

If seasons had persona's, after a covering of white, you could say:

"Winter's coming"
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:01
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

In German there is Neuschnee, but that's any kind of freshly fallen snow, be it the first load of the season or later. In most normal languages it would be something like new or fresh snow, but German has that infamous tendency to make huge chunks of words by just welding them together, like Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfungskommissionsbericht.
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:02
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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isn't there some arctic culture somewhere with like 1,000 words for snow?
That's a legend to some extent. As a polysyntetic language, inuktitut and other inuit languages make words out of many elements combined as we do sentences in our languages. Thus, the possibilities of incorporation specifics to the couple of semantic bases for snow makes it infinite. But one could say the same about any other concept, not only snow.
It's not as extreme but somehow the same in agglutinating languages: Samisk (lappish, saami) language can discribe a reindeer very very precisely, it's a combining game based on a limited number of basic nounsm some of them being actually metonymic meanings.
Even German can be very interesting, combining all kinds of attributes to the main nouns Schnee, Flocke or even Eisblume... but to a lesser extent than inuit languages, we agree on that.

In the French alps, I was hearing "les premières neiges" (expression in plural) and in German, the expression "der erste Schnee" exists. You can also say Wintereinzug, but that just means it's getting cold, with or without snow.

EDIT: Google "inuit words for snow" for references and explainations.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 21.09.2011 at 00:11. Reason: the google idea.
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:05
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

Don't know the right word in any of the official languages, but looking at Niesen tonight as the sun went down with the red rays hitting the first sprinkling of snow which fell last night...."Perfect" would just about cover it for me
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:12
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Japanese word for it... probably invented in some ancient haiku.
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:13
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

To the skier's heart, the best word in French is

la poudreuse (powder snow)

and the worst

la peutsch (wet slushy snow).

With quite a few in between. Of course it will also determine which 'fart' to use
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:14
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Japanese word for it... probably invented in some ancient haiku.
Yep. 初雪 - hatsuyuki
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Old 21.09.2011, 00:23
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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In the canton Valais/Wallis people living in resorts might say:
- Arrivée de l'or blanc (meaning "snow is monney for us")
Is that another of these röstigraben-split things - people to its east looking out for white gold, whilst those to the east are after brown sugar?

Attachment 32702 Attachment 32703

Last edited by weejeem; 14.10.2011 at 16:03.
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Old 21.09.2011, 20:54
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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Looking at the first new snow on the Alps here, I'm reminded that back home we used to call this 'termination dust', i.e. sort of an unofficial sign marking the end of summer. Do the Swiss (in any of their tongues) have a similiar word or phrase meaning the same thing?
Romansh: La prüma naiv - title in La Quotidiana yesterday.

Online the article about the same : Prüma naiv cupicha bos-cha (first snow, falling trees)
http://www.suedostschweiz.ch/zeitung...upicha-bos-cha
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Old 21.09.2011, 23:46
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

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Romansh: La prüma naiv - title in La Quotidiana yesterday.

Online the article about the same : Prüma naiv cupicha bos-cha (first snow, falling trees)
Very close, but it's a regular sentence with a subject, a predicate and an object, albeit headline style: First snow tips trees over, or: First snow fells trees.
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Old 22.09.2011, 20:20
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Re: Word for first snow on mountains?

yes thank you, I can still differenciate a -a ending from a -à one. As if I would know that fällen = to fell in English. To advanced for me. Thanks for the new word. The English one that is.
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