Fifty Words for Snow
By: Nancy Campbell
‘A delightful compendium that brings together language, culture and adventure through frozen landscapes as it shares the meanings behind 50 words for snow, gathered from around the globe.’ The Herald
Snow. Every language has its own words for the magical, mesmerising flakes that fall from the sky. In this exquisite exploration, writer and Arctic traveller Nancy Campbell digs deep into the meanings of fifty words for snow.
In Japanese we encounter yuki-onna – a ‘snow woman’ who drifts through the frosted land. In Icelandic it is hundslappadrífa – ‘snowflakes as big as a dog’s paw’ – that softly blanket the streets. And in Māori we meet Huka-rere – ‘one of the children of rain and wind’.
From mountain tops and frozen seas to city parks and desert hills, each of these linguistic snow crystals offers a whole world of myth and story – the perfect winter gift.
‘Absolutely exquisite. This little book is a work of art. It is impossible to imagine the reader who will not love it.’ Horatio Clare, author of The Light in the Dark
‘This stunning book made me want to pack all my woolies, candles, ample firewood and enough books for a year – and head to as northerly a location as I could find.’ Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Caught By the River
‘Sparkles and dazzles with new meanings and old magic. You’ll never see snow in the same way again.’ Matt Gaw, author of Under the Stars
‘A sparkling prism to reveal what snow means to different cultures… [an] exploration of the language that describes myriad snowscapes, from mountain peaks and ancient glaciers to boreal cities and Baltic landscapes.’
- National Geographic
‘A miraculous snow bank of niveous names and knowledge as delicate and multifaceted as the flakes it celebrates. A glittering cloud of Inupiaq, Icelandic, compound Maori, Finnish, Scots, Thai, Hebrew, American Sign Language.’
- Dan Richards, author of Outpost: A Wild Journey to the Ends of the Earth
‘Pithy, clear-eyed… like so many magical portals, offering fleeting but fascinating glimpses into unfamiliar worlds.’
‘This is a book of now… It shows us how we are connected and united across languages and across borders, through our environment, climate, stories and Nature. Fifty Words for Snow is both gorgeous and important to hunker down with, whatever the weather outside.’
- Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine