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Scrabble Adds 3000 Words To Its Vocabular
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The game of Scrabble already boasts over a quarter of a million words – and it is gaining another 3000 - In the United Kingdom, at least. North America is gaining ten. That’s right, just ten. But this is nothing new. The lexicon that governs play in the United States and Canada contains 178,691 words while the UK word list now contains, with the latest addition, over 270,000.

This separation of the continents over Scrabble dates back to the 1950s. When the first Scrabble dictionaries were published in the United States and United Kingdom – in 1978 and 1980, respectively – word sources were split up. Attempts to combine the word lists have been unsuccessful, thus far, because the majority of North American Scrabble players are unwilling to use the much larger and more permissive British sources, even though the UK has assimilated North American word lists into their own.

There has been some misinformation and exaggeration about additions over the years. With the invention of a Scrabble spin-off game last year, gossip went around that Scrabble would be allowing proper nouns. When talk began surrounding this latest addition, they included rumors that the game would begin allowing made up slang and texting abbreviations, creating much backlash. While some are opining that English is a pure language and Scrabble is one of its last bastions, a particularly well-known quote by James Nicoll about the English language pursuing other languages down alleyways and beating them unconscious to rifle their pockets for new vocabulary, comes to mind. While people will continue to go up in arms about additions to the language, the language will continue to evolve.

Slang terms have always been accepted in the game of Scrabble, however. This is because slang terms are included in the dictionaries that are used to compile Scrabble’s word lists. One of the biggest misconceptions about Scrabble is that the game arbitrarily decides which words will be excluded or added to the list. Scrabble faithfully follows the evolution of language as dictionaries are updated to reflect it.

What with the way people are talking, one might think they would need an English course through an online university to retain all 3000 words being added, but you might be surprised. For many of these words, neither an online university course nor a typical college course will help, because a fair number of them are everyday slang terms and words in other languages.

There are many people who protest additions each time they are made, but just as many Scrabble players laud the action. As the English language changes, evolves, and adds words, a game that is as vocabulary-based as Scrabble has to change, as well, no matter how absurd some of those additions may seem.

As for what is on this notorious list? Just a small sampling includes words such as: wagyu, innit, grrl, darknet, blook, webzine, and qin. Just to prepare you in the event of another surprise – the next update for the Scrabble list is scheduled for 2013.


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