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Scrabble is a decompression game invented in 1938 by American Architect Alfred Mosher, it’s a word game consisting of two to four players or two separate teams. However, the match-up score points are made by placing tiles bearing a single letter onto a board divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words which, in crossword style, read left to right in rows or downwards in columns, and can be defined in a standard dictionary or lexicon. In 2016, Nigeria produced the first African Scrabble World Champion Wellington Jighere from Benin City, who won the title after four straight games in the best-of-seven final round against Cambridge player Lewis Mackay ranked 19th by the body’s players’ association. Jighere won by using words including “dacoit”, meaning a member of a class of robbers in India and Burma; “yow”, Australian slang for keeping a look-out, and “Katti”, an alternative spelling for weight used in China Did you observe anything from the words used by Jighere to win? One of the words “yow” is an Australian slang and “Katti” is a word mainly used in China. So it’s pretty obvious these nations have their slangs in the Scrabble dictionary. Nigeria, though very diversified ethnically is considered the most humorous nation in the world, from our hilarious twitter conversations to Instagram memes, we find confluence in our lingua franca. If other nations can incorporate the use of their slangs in the game of Scrabble, then why not we? Regardless of its worldwide rejection,  we can within the confines of our nation include the use of Nigerian slangs in Scrabble. It’ll definitely increase the game feel, with a lot of laughs when either one of your friends play a funny pidgin word, for instance:  ‘Amebo’, ‘Yaba-left’ or even the word ‘Awoof’ which has been greatly used by telecom companies in recent years. Adding these slangs to the game will also create exposure for our own native variation of English. So, take out time with your friends, play a game of Scrabble, but this time, add to your arsenal a pidgin English dictionary. It’ll definitely be an experience you’ll want to repeat.

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This article was first published on 21st September 2017


Achem Samuel is a writer and a musician, he is passionate about God and also an ardent fan of tech, sports and music.

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