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AR OF ORDS! Traditionalists left confused by new Scrabble lingo like 'bezzy'.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

ANIGHT on the tiles has just become a lot more difficult for the region's scrabble aficionados after more than 6,500 words were given the green light.

For the first time in four years, the game has been updated - and some fans feel it's a decidedly vowel deed.

Players can now reap the benefits of modern lingo, with slang expressions such as bezzy (best friend) worth 18 points, lolz (laugh out loud lots) notchingup 16, hashtag 14 and twerking (provocative dance) 16.

The update will not go down well with some traditionalists, with veterans being left in the cold by the computer slang.

But the changes, included in the game's official Collins dictionary, have been welcomed by Linda Sandy, secretary of Sutton Coldfield Scrabble Club.

Mind you, the 63-year-old has a vested interest. She's finally been given the all-clear to use "blart", Black Country slang for cry.

"Language evolves," said Linda. "We use words now we did not use 20 years ago. When you have a Scrabble mind, you are constantly looking for new words."

The changes embrace a new, younger generation of players, converted to scrabble on-line. The Sutton Coldfield club, which meets every Sunday at St Michael's Church Hall, Boldmere, has players ranging in age from 20 to over 80.

Linda, who has been playing since she was 12, added: "We are waiting for the new 'word list',' which is 60 pages long. Of course, we won't be able to memorise them all."

But fans will all follow the changes to the letter.

"Our numbers were dwindling five years ago - we were getting eight or nine a week. Now we have 23 and that's because of the scrabble internet. I've played people from Malta and South Africa."

" The game has always embraced slang, stressed Linda, and even some swearwords are allowed. "I myself have used 'ars'" she said.

"Bazooka" provided one of her biggest hits, however - scoring over 100.

The changes have been begrudgingly accepted by Paul Cartman, head of Stafford Scrabble Club which meets at his home.

But the 63-year-old supermarket checkout worker confessed: "I am a bit dubious about using text words, although I am aware they are creeping into the language.

"Every three or four years the dictionary is updated to reflect changes in language. In that respect, you've got to go with the flow. Like it or not, these words are used in language. It's just defining the probability of their usage in scrabble terms and how they are used."

So far, the old dictionary has worked very well for Paul, who has competed in Thailand and Sri Lanka. He amassed a massive 212 points with "requites".

Collins dictionary's Helen Newstead - who helps compile Scrabble's official words - said the internet had revolutionised the game.

"Dictionaries have always included formal and informal English, but it used to be hard to find printed evidence of the use of slang words.

"Now people use slang in social media posts, tweets, blogs, comments, text messages - you name it - so there's a host of evidence for informal varieties of English that simply didn't exist before."

The game, in which players tot up as many points as possible from words spelled out on the board, was born when James Brunot bought a previous version in 1948, and named it Scrabble.

Today, owners Hasbro sells two million copies annually in the US and millions more globally.

NEW SCRABBLE SLANG WORDS Bezzy - best friend (18 points) Cakeages - charges in a restaurant for serving cake brought in from outside (15 points) Geocache - search for hidden containers using GPS as a recreational activity (16 points) Lotsa - lots of (5 points) Newb - newbie (9 points) Obvs - obviously (9 points) Shootie - type of shoe that covers the ankle (10 points) Thanx - thank you (15 points) Tuneage - music (8 points) NEW SCRABBLE TECHNO WORDS Facetime - talk with (someone) via the FaceTime application (15 points) Hacktivist - person who hacks computer systems for political reasons (22 points) Hashtag - a word or phrase preceded by a hashmark on Twitter, used to denote the topic of a post (14 points) Showrooming - practice of looking at an item in a shop, using a smartphone to compare its price elsewhere, then buying it online (20 points) Tweep - person who uses Twitter (10 points) Warbot - any robot or unmanned vehicle or device designed for and used in warfare (11 points)

We use words now we did not use 20 years ago.

CAPTION(S):

Scrabble 'bezzies': Sheila Taylor and Linda Sandy of the Sutton Coldfield Scrabble Club, who will now have to accommodate a host of new slang and technological words
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 24, 2015
Words:775
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