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Scrabble Slang

Scrabble Slang - It's Only Words

Misinformation is always more powerful than the truth because it generally gets more press. The internet spawns much of the erroneous documentation that we frivolously call "the news."

Some Scrabble enthusiasts were horrified recently to hear that the dictionary for Scrabble was being expanded by some 3000 words. Some of these were highly questionable in regards to the "accepted" English language.

Slang words such as "thang, grrl, and innit" didn't sit well with many long time Scrabble "old timers." Accepting slang words has always been a necessity because they are acceptable in the Webster dictionary to an extent. It is not truthful to say that slang isn't "kosher" because it is. Everyone, to some extent, uses slang.

Closer scrutiny of the added words enlightens us to the fact that they become part of Scrabble in places other than North America. The Collins English Dictionary may be accepting these new entries, but that has no affect on what governs Scrabble in the U.S. and Canada.

As you may know, the Official Tournament and Club Word List (OWL) and its addendum, the Long List, is the official standard for North America. Beyond that, The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary is the edition used for home and school play because colorful and offensive words are absent.

For those who remember something of the history of acceptable dictionaries, there has been a split in what is acceptable since the advent of Scrabble itself. This division has stemmed from the many "official" publications that surfaced in the last quarter of the 20th century.

When there is no agreement within a nation as a whole, it is highly plausible that a unified worldwide Scrabble dictionary has an opportunity for adoption. British dictionaries are much more permissive than those in the United States.

The Collins version has almost 268,000 words from 2 to 15 letters. That is almost 100,000 more than what is acceptable in tournament play in North America. It has become a common occurrence for some North American Scrabble players to procure the Collins Dictionary for non-competitive play, although this can lead to errors under official conditions.

Misconception and misinformation have led many people to believe that Scrabble is the authority on what words are included in the "official" dictionary. This is untrue because all words considered legal in Scrabble have already appeared in other dictionaries. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary originated from words that appeared in at least one of five college-accepted dictionaries at the time it was established.

Those who may feel the standards are lower because of the addition of some words should consider what has happened to the English language in the last decade. Words that are commonplace today weren't known at all a brief time ago. Surely, some players weren't happy with new words when added decades ago. It is a part of growth and innovation in the Scrabble game for new words to come into existence.

The last official update in 2005 included qi and za, which attracted numerous negative comments. The words added at that time came from four college standard dictionaries. Scrabble did not make up any of those additions; it just followed the lead. Unless something changes, the next renewal and additions won't take place until 2013. What new and questionable words will be in existence at that time?

While many will groan and complain about how ridiculous some new words are, others will just quietly commit them to memory. Instead of fighting the establishment, it is much more worthwhile to use any new ammunition in the arsenal of the game. After all, isn't Scrabble all about "brushing up" on vocabulary?

 
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