Friday, 29 March 2013

Snow, snail, snil, snoil, hail

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In what seems to be the coldest March for many decades, my locality has experienced a couple of weeks of daily 'snow': but a strange kind of snow which is somewhat like hail, or sometimes hail that is somewhat like snow - either way it never lies for long, and accumulates like little drifts of granules rather than in layers.

My 10 yr old daughter has come-up with a useful set of terms to describe this unusual icy precipitation which has some of the properties of snow and some of hail.

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Snow

Snoil - (pronounced snoyl) mostly snow but particulate, a bit like hail

Snil - exactly half way between snow and hail

Snail - mostly hail, but with a bit of snowlike softness

Hail

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As you can see, the proportion of letters from each word, snow and hail, reflect the proportion of snow-like or hail-like properties - e.g. snoil has three letters from snow (sno) and two from hail (il) - while snail is the opposite, having two letters from snow (sn) and three letters from hail (ail).

This new nomenclature is proving itself to be usefully descriptive, and (more importantly) generative of the kind of micro-discussion of weather which we British seem to require as part of our daily diet - for example, emotional debate (confident assertions and incredulous counter-assertions) about whether the stuff on top of the car is best described as snoil or snil...

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