Tuesday, May 10, 2011

'Q' up: Scrabble expands its vocabulary

Scrabble, one of the last bastions of grammatical purism in a world overrun by cell phone text abbreviations, is capitulating to the times.

The board game plans to add 3,000 new words to its official dictionary, including several slang terms like "thang" (9 points) and "grrl" (5 points) as well as pop culture touchstones, like Facebook and MySpace.

Turning the most heads is the inclusion of "innit," a condensation of "isn't it" that will earn you 5 points - and the undying hatred of any English majors who are playing along.

In addition, two new "Q" words have been added that don't require a "u". "Qin" (a Chinese zither, with strings stretched across a flat box) will earn you 12 points, while "Fiqh" (an expansion of Islamic sharia law) will add 19 to your score. Each will also almost certainly have your opponents rushing to challenge the words.

The push to make the game more relevant to a generation that's more familiar with "Words with Friends" is a risky one. While updating the dictionary makes it a more hip game, the move is bound to upset some fans, who have always taken pride in the fact that the game was never "dumbed down".

The game's publishers say the additions make this the "most comprehensive Scrabble wordlist ever produced," but that's doing little to soothe some players' ruffled feathers.

"I don't like slang words at all, but if they are going to put them in we will have to use them," Jean Gallacher, of Scotland's Inverness Scrabble Club, told The Scotsman. "I think there is too much slang in the English language as it is, with the way young people are talking."

Let's face it: it might be fun to earn 12 points by laying down "blingy," but you certainly won't impress the person across that table that has just dropped "Quixotry".

And that's some thang to keep in mind - innit?

Words with Friends, Words with Friends !

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