Sunday, May 15, 2011

When it comes to Scrabble, we are separated by a common language

A while ago the news hit that Scrabble was allowing proper nouns.

Not true.

Now there's new news, the inclusion of 3000 new words like THANG and GRRL.

Sort of not true.

It turns out that the US and Canada do not play with the same lexicon as their British cousins across the ocean. North America has one set of rules, the rest of the world has another. Who knew?

Stefan Fatsis explains at Slate: "Scrabble's bifurcated ownership dates to the 1950s. Its bifurcated word-sourcing dates to the publication of the first Scrabble dictionaries, in 1978 in the United States and 1980 in the United Kingdom. Attempts at world Scrabble lexical unity so far have failed, largely because a majority of North American players has been unwilling to adopt the larger and more permissive British books, of which Collins is just the latest. How much larger? A total of 178,691 words two through 15 letters long are playable in club and tournament Scrabble in North America. Not including the new update, Collins, when combined for competitive play with the North American words in a book called Collins Scrabble Words, yields a total of 267,751 words."

Read the whole story at Word Freakout: The latest brouhaha over changes to the Scrabble dictionary.

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