SSi Forum

Using the NG tile in Scrabble yn Gymraeg


#1

Anyone any idea how the NG tile can be used? Mutations at the beginnings of words are not allowed, and you can’t use it in place of a N+G, so where else could you use it? Before a mutated word? Or are there Welsh words that have NG as a double letter other than a mutation? I have no idea so my daughter and I have temporarily removed it from our game until we can find out what to do with it! :rofl::rofl:


#2

I think the key comes down to knowing whether a word is spelt (for example) a-n-g-… or a-ng-…@kate-hannon.
My best suggestion is to look the word up in a Welsh dictionary, as it will affect where you find it listed - because ng comes after g in the Welsh alphabet
=> angen is a-ng-e-n (not a-n-g-e-n), so in my dictionary is listed after agwedd, not after a-n-ff- words.

This came up in a word game I was playing on Slack the other week - apart from hoping you can tell from a word’s place in a Welsh dictionary, how do you tell whether ‘ng’ in a Welsh word is actually ‘ng’ or ‘n-g’? Can you help please @garethrking, @rich, @siaronjames ?

If you know how to pronounce the word, does that always help? Eg. llong after llogi (as ll-o-ng), but llongyfarch comes after llond as llon-gy…


#3

A large number of words have internal mutations. Anhrefn, for example, comes from the prefix an (roughly equivalent to un in English) and trefn (order). Butting the an up against the initial t of trefn causes an internal nasal mutation in the resulting word (meaning disorder).

So, when this happens to words beginning with c, you get the natural appearance of the letter ng as part of the internal nasal mutation.

an + cofio = anghofio
an + caredig = angharedig
an + credadwy = anghredadwy

etc…


#4

Just to avoid any further queries - I’m afraid I can’t help with grammar questions. My first question on the forum was a grammar question, answered with lightning speed by Aran with (to paraphrase): ‘Who cares? Just keep going!’ And, although I’m not one for doing what I’m told as a rule, I breathed a sigh of relief and did that…


#6

Apologies Bronwen - in this context, I meant to tag @siaronjames - can’t explain to either of you how that went awry :thinking: - I’ll edit my post!


#7

Excellent question, and I wish I had an answer! To be honest, I’ve never even thought about it before.

As you build vocabulary and get used to seeing where nasal mutations have occurred to a G, you’ll get more used to spotting those as NGs (as in Rob’s examples) - and in the same vein, you’ll get used to where an N happens to precede a soft-mutated C and spotting those as N G s (as in Llongyfarch), but other than that, I can’t really offer any rules or advice (except to keep a dictionary handy!)


#8

Thanks Rob, that really helps!!! We are only playing with dictionaries handy because we’re both so new!!! That will give us a new way of looking at things! :slight_smile:


#9

Thanks Ann - I hadn’t twigged that abot the order of words in the dictionary, another top tip! :slight_smile:


#10

That’s opened up a whole new can of worms as well as providing helpful insight - thanks @robbruce :thinking:


#11

That’s learning welsh for you. Cans open, worms everywhere. :smiley:


#12

I do know that ‘NG’ occurs in the word ‘angen’ (need) and in ‘cyngor’ (advice/council) and in many other words. Like any art of Welsh language, you pick up words gradually and ‘ng’ is no exception. I have been learning Welsh for 4 years and still find scrabble nearly impossible. Keep trying and one day you will surprise yourself.


#13

What a fun question!

I’ve played Scrabble a lot in English, but never in Welsh.

I can think of rhwng and llynges (navy).


#14

Sorry I don’t have anything useful to contribute but… Scrabble yn Gymraeg! You’ve just given me something wonderful to add to my wishlist, thank you :smile:


#15

I’ve now realised that I need to scrabble board my spellings to properly know how something is spelt.


#16

I say, modify the Scrabble rules and use NG anywhere it works, if the other players are cool with that. I also disagree with the rule against initial mutations. We’re beginners, for goodness’ sake!


#17

Interesting question. I have played a lot of English Scrabble, and in fact am co-author of ‘Official Scrabble Words’, the definitive word list for players in English, but Welsh Scrabble is still on my to-do list. Would I be right in thinking that the same problem of differentiation can arise with the RH tile? I believe that in a word like PARHAU, for example, the RH are separate letters, not a digraph, so if you tried to play it as five letters (P A RH A U) rather than six (P A R H A U), I assume it could be challenged off? Would it also be true to say that the same issue cannot arise with any of the other digraph tiles i.e. that CH, DD, FF, LL, PH and TH never occur in Welsh words other than as digraphs (unless separated by a hyphen, and I presume the same rule applies as in English Scrabble that hyphenated words are not allowed)?


#18

Brilliant news that you are looking at this, I would love further clarification. Also, does anyone have any idea at all why there is only one LL tile, given that it is in such common use? I’m really looking forward to the Welsh Official Words book! :grinning:


#19

Sadly I cannot see a Welsh version of Official Scrabble Words being produced any time soon, as I suspect there is just not enough of a player base to make it a commercially viable venture. Unless generous support could be obtained from some body who would see it as part of promoting the language. Even then, to create such a word list from scratch would be a formidable task, requiring huge industry and someone, or several someones, with great expertise in the language, as I know from my experience with the English list. I suspect that to create a Welsh list would actually be a more demanding job than creating an English list. Welsh might not have quite as many root words as eclectic English, but it still has a very rich vocabulary, and of course has far more verbal inflections and variant plural forms than English, which would all need spelling out, so you would probably end up with a good deal more than the 279496 words that currently make up the English list. Some of the decisions that would have to be made: choose your source dictionary or dictionaries. Decide on your policy for those things that dictionaries do not always make explicit e.g. plural forms, comparatives and superlatives, verbal inflections. Decide where you going to draw the line historically – the primary source for the English list was originally Chambers dictionary but now is Collins, and we go back to about the time of Edmund Spenser (so you get weird and wonderful forms like YCLEEPE and YWROKE ) but not, say, to Chaucer or Langland. Of course, your choice of dictionary should be the chief determinant here, but I note, for example, that my old Geiriadur Mawr has a great many asterisked words where the asterisk denotes ‘archaic’, some of which are to be found in the GPC dictionary but many not, so choice of dictionaries has profound implications. Decide if you are going to permit all variant spellings and dialect forms – again the simplest thing here is to choose one or two dictionaries and just follow them.

Anyway, you get the idea of the work involved. Perhaps a project for Gareth in his spare time!

Sorry, Kate, I really don’t know why there should be only one LL tile. The English tile distribution was based on fairly careful analysis of letter frequency in newspaper articles. I think it has remained about right, though a lot of people feel that there is one too many I’s. As far as tile values go, Z at 10 points is now probably overvalued given that you can now play ZA, ZO and ZE, but it’s very unlikely that any change will be made.