Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Language(s) of Scrabble

Those who know me know that my sister Margo and I always engage in "scrabble death matches" when we get together, usually only about once a year, during the holidays. These are very competitive matches, and while one of us may bomb out in a set of games, we usually recover and get our revenge back the next time. What has interested me over the last few years of these scrabble death matches is how my own work with foreign and ancient languages has actually made this game much tougher on me, which you might not think would be the case. The trouble is that with the 7 tiles you are allowed in scrabble you are supposed to derive words that you can add to the board. The trouble that I have is that most of the words that first pop into my mind are in other languages. While I used to play scrabble with some Mexican friends, in which we allowed words in either Spanish or English, Margo and I have stuck to English-only in terms of our games. And thus I have to usually go through numerous words in my head before I'll find one that is actually usable in our games. Or, at least that's my excuse for taking so long on my turns.

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