, , , , , , , , , , , ,

In my days of greater free time (har har), I was terribly addicted to Facebook Scrabble. I’ve landed some awesome combos in my day, but never anything nearly as cool as my friend Ian, currently in 17th place amongst my friends for top-scoring words:

Please excuse my messy blur job

In case you can’t see it, Ian nailed BASENJI for a cool 96 points.

It always annoyed me that Scrabble was so inconsistent about which dog breeds were acceptable and which were deemed illegal plays. Validity of words depends on the dictionary used, and was not always related to the obscurity of the breed.

I once came across a great list of words compiled by the Association of British Scrabble Players. The list is based on a different dictionary from the ones that I’m used to when playing online Scrabble. According to their rules, for example, BASENJI is not a pluralizable hook (that is, you can’t build on it and score mega points by adding an S and another word), whereas BASENJIS is allowed in both SOWPODS and TWL.

The number of Japanese loan words that have made it into Scrabble dictionaries, generally speaking, is quite interesting (and revealing of the “Japanification” of some aspects of English-language culture): (O)BENTO, BONSAI, DASHI, GAGAKU, GEISHA, GETA, KATANA, SAMURAI, SATORI, SAYONARA, and ZAZEN (but not Zen!) are just a few among the many that have the distinction of being honorary “English” words. You can even pluralize almost all of them, in defiance of Japanese linguistic rules.

But AKITA only works in SOWPODS, not TWL.

And the SHIBA isn’t acknowledged in any of the above dictionaries, let alone INU.

I suppose it’ll only be a matter of time… It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that QI (氣), the Chinese term for vital energy (in very modern pinyin spelling), was added to the dictionary. No doubt that as Shiba become more popular, they’ll get their due with the next major update of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

How to maintain a trim Basenji figure
Photo taken 8 November 2010

Bowpi says I gab too much, and it’s disturbing her beauty rest.