View previous topic | View next topic

Eskimos

Page 1 of 7
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

apenniston
441454.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:43 am Reply with quote

I remember on one episode of QI that we found out that Eskimos weren't meant to be called Eskimos, nor were meant to be called inuits. Can any one remember what their proper name was, if you can I would really appreciate the help!

 
Flash
441456.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:53 am Reply with quote

Suze will probably be along in a minute to put us right on this, but our understanding is that the word "eskimo" is regarded as pejorative in Canada, but that "Inuit" isn't a catch-all alternative; the Inuit live in northern Canada and parts of Greenland, the Kalaallit in Greenland, the Inuvialuit in Canada, and the Inupiat, Yupiget, Yuplit and Alutiit in Alaska.

 
RLDavies
441500.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:38 am Reply with quote

Here's Wikipedia on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo#Nomenclature

 
suze
441666.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:32 pm Reply with quote

Wiki and Flash are both about right there.

The word "Eskimo" is non-PC in Canada, much as it's fine in Alaska. The particular indigenous person of the north who was featured on QI was a Yupi'ik from Alaska - Sarah Palin's husband is one of those as well - and hence "Eskimo" rather than "Inuit" is the term to use. The plural of Yup'ik is Yupiit.

Had the person been an Aleut, then again "Eskimo" might have caused offence. The Aleut are very sure that they are not Eskimos; while they don't object to "Aleut", they prefer one Unangax̂, two Unangax, three or more Unangan. (Note that most of the Eskimo-Aleut languages have what's called a dual number; this comes between singular and plural and is used when there are two of something. It's rare in European languages; Slovenian and Sorbian have it, and it's on the point of vanishing from Lithuanian.)

The indigenous people of Baffin Island and such like places absolutely are Inuit, although "an Inuit" or "lots of Inuits" are always going to be wrong since "Inuit" is the plural. One Inuk, two Inuuk, three or more Inuit.

While the people of the central Arctic would prefer Inuinnaq to Inuit, they won't get especially upset at the more general word. As for indigenous Greenlanders, the preferred term is Kalaallit, singular Kalaaleq. (There's no dual in Greenlandic.)

 
dmottram
441684.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:08 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
The word "Eskimo" is non-PC in Canada, much as it's fine in Alaska
One wonders idly what word they use to describe non-native Canadians.

 
Davini994
441686.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:27 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Slovenian and Sorbian have it...

Languages made with ice water?

 
suze
441689.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:36 pm Reply with quote

dmottram wrote:
One wonders idly what word they use to describe non-native Canadians.


They call us qallunaat, which means "people with hairy eyebrows".

The Inuit traditionally had little body hair; the earliest reports by European explorers noted that Inuit men had scanty beards and that Inuit women had no pubic hair. It seems to have been at least in part connected with diet; while beards are not especially fashionable among Inuit men today, they do require to shave.

 
Moosh
441693.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:52 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
The Inuit traditionally had little body hair; the earliest reports by European explorers noted that Inuit men had scanty beards and that Inuit women had no pubic hair. It seems to have been at least in part connected with diet; while beards are not especially fashionable among Inuit men today, they do require to shave.


I wonder if that's connected to Oriental people not having much body hair. I know the Chinese were astounded by my father's (hairy, but not unusally so) arms and chest when he was there.

(note: he was in a village that had previously seen no foreign tour groups, and very few foreigners of any kind before)

 
Davini994
441699.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:10 pm Reply with quote

There's Chinese blood in the Artic Circle due to a settlement on Greenland during the 1421 voyage according to the book, IIRC.

 
suze
441758.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:33 pm Reply with quote

Yea, Gavin Menzies does make that claim.

It seems improbable though. There were probably still Norse settlements on Greenland as at 1421. The Norse are known still to have been there in 1408 because records of a wedding in that year have survived, and are generally thought to have died or left by 1500.

The Norse were a literate people, and so if they'd encountered strange people who were not Kalaallit, you'd think they would have written that fact down. They didn't.

What's more, the reasons that the Norse settlements died out were twofold - first, the Kalaallit fought with them from time to time and second, the climate seems to have taken a turn for the colder after about 1350. That second would have made it unlikely that any settlement founded by people used to a warmer climate would have lasted long.

Menzies gets around that one by claiming that the Little Ice Age didn't begin until later, and that as at 1421 Greenland "would have been a country of green pastures where cattle grazed in the open". That's not impossible, but if true it would mean rethinking the received wisdom as to why the Norse settlements died out.

Unfortunately, Menzies rather contradicts himself though. He also claims that sea levels were lower in 1421 than today; if Greenland had had a temperate climate at that time they'd surely have been higher.

 
gerontius grumpus
441787.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:36 pm Reply with quote

So when is it alright to call certain of the Arctic peoples Eskimos?

 
suze
441790.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:38 pm Reply with quote

If the indigenous northern person in question is from Alaska and is not Aleut, then you may call him "Eskimo" as much as you like.

Otherwise, it's best avoided.

 
djgordy
441795.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:42 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
European explorers noted .... that Inuit women had no pubic hair.


Perhaps the explorers mistook the Inuit ladies for Brazilians. Good of them to notice though as a lot of people would have missed that detail.

 
mckeonj
441808.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:54 pm Reply with quote

I recently saw an advertisement for something called "ESKIMO" illustrated by a picture of a penguin backing away from a polar bear, and pressed against an igloo, with a man in a fur hood looking startled out of the igloo entrance.
Superb!
It reminded me of that lovely little rhyme (from memory):

On the first day of August one Sunday morn
I shot a hen pheasant in standing corn.
Find a greater, if you can
List of crimes gainst God and Man.

 
suze
441810.  Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:01 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Perhaps the explorers mistook the Inuit ladies for Brazilians. Good of them to notice though as a lot of people would have missed that detail.


I might have to sound a klaxon there!

The procedure called the Brazilian does not in fact consist of the complete removal of the pubic hair; a woman who gets herself a Brazilian retains a "landing strip". In Brazil, the procedure is called o cavado, which word is also used for the style of bikini which will reveal pubic hair unless one has had a Brazilian.

The procedure which removes the pubic hair in its entirety is called the Hollywood. It is not common in Brazil; rather more so in North America.

 

Page 1 of 7
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group