Sunday, March 7, 2010

Scrabble Journey

I rather like the board game of Scrabble but did not like the computer game Scrabble Journey anywhere near as much. The game is pretty different from the game of Scrabble, very little strategy is needed, and the points are entirely meaningless. The game does have a story in which you are trying to become a member of a travel club; to do so you first have to make a trip around the world in less than 80 days (teaches some geography). You have multiple routes to take, some are easier than others (supposedly, the game is very simple) and the game board changes for each locale but always starts on the left side of the board and ends on the right side, some boards have obstacles you have to spell words around (example of one of the boards pictured above downloaded from the internet).

When I play Scrabble I tend to use four letter words most frequently. I do this because my spelling is not as good as I would like it to be and if I am unsure of a words spelling I generally avoid using it. That is probably the most frustrating thing about the game Scrabble (that and not finding the letter you need). Since my vocabulary is considerably better than my spelling and I know many polysyllabic words, I often come up with words but avoid using them (though even when I do attempt to do so I often can not find a place in which to place the word on the board). This game likely would increase a persons spelling abilities more than their vocabulary since you can guess how to spell words as long as you want without a penalty (though you get more points the faster you do so).

When I write on a computer I make frequent use of the spell checker and like that it exists (though I do not use auto-spellcheck since the programs are not intelligent and often assume that the misspelled word is a different word entirely). My freehand writing suffers from cacography unless I take great care and spend a considerable amount of time to avoid it. Cacography, for those who do not know or have not derived its meaning from my usage of it, is the antonym of calligraphy (beautiful handwriting) and orthography (correct spelling). From what I have read cacography is becoming more and more common since most people nowadays use spell checkers and type things out rather than write them (many schools no longer even teach their students how to write in cursive since it is generally not needed in modern society).

I consider my vocabulary to be very good and rarely encounter words I do not know, though on the occasions in which I do I generally can derive the words meaning from the context it is used in. In speech, both written and spoken, it is best to avoid the over use of uncommonly used words since the point of language is to convey information and ideas. Those who do over use uncommon words or are circumlocutory tend to (but not always) do so to obfuscate information or are being ostentatious. That is not to say using uncommon words or being verbose is bad, it is the misuse and over usage of them that is a problem. I recently heard on a radio program about how a scientist had written a book that would have been ground breaking and years ahead of its time (can not recall the author or book at this time) but because of how he wrote it it was mostly indecipherable and therefore ignored.

In the game Scrabble Journey there is a hint object and the hints it gives is often for very uncommon words (at least to me) for example these seventy: tuque, ti, wadi, jezail, suq, nodi, dado, dehort, tyee, zax, nissus, jees, jeu, uric, ugsome, gadje, arbute, elide, azonic, edhs, jeux, crinums, ructions, alane, ogee, trock, abaka, reeky, ansae, naoi, jiao, epos, guaco, egis, khi, yapok, aurated, adze, zas, qis, delf, vena, brede, uretic, ziram, godet, pirn, xenic, indri, uric, nixe, kyar, gie, japer, fordo, kinin, ileal, gyral, azo, giga, rya, neap, liri, acini, otic, thiol, howk, kobo, xis, and cwm.

The reason I made the list of words is because I was curious as to their meaning and looked them up in a dictionary. I downloaded the free version wordweb dictionary (since I wanted to use an offline software dictionary) for the express purpose of looking them up but not every word was in that dictionary (spell check doesn't recognize a lot of them as well). Though every word is in the Scrabble dictionary.

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