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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (January-March) » Scrabble as Gaeilge « Previous Next »

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Paul (66.152.218.225 - 66.152.218.225)
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 10:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Does anyone have any experience playing Scrabble as Gaeilge?
I know that the Scrabble letters are based on the frequency of the appearance of those letters in English. Someone was telling me there are Scrabble sets in other languages, with the letters adjusted to fit those languages.
Has anyone heard of a Gaeilge version, either available commercially or "homemade"? If not, has anyone ever "done the math" and figured out how many tiles the different letters should have?
Go raibh maith agaibh agus Nollaig shona dhaoibh,
Paul

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rath (138.89.169.163 - 138.89.169.163)
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Phóil,

A few years ago we contacted the makers of Scrabble having heard there were versions available in other languages, ach is mór an trua nach bfhuil leagan Gaeilge le fáil. Not enough demand for it, we were told. So we simply put two sets together, tossing aside the letters we didn't need. Not a scientific way to go about it, but fun nonetheless. Bain triail as.

Rath

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Paul (205.188.209.10 - 205.188.209.10)
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Rath, a chara:

Bainfidh me triall as.

I had heard that for the first set of Scrabble (the English version that we use today), the inventor of Scrabble read one article out of a newspaper, using just that as his sample to determine the amount of tiles each letter would get. I've been thinking of doing the same with an article as Gaeilge.

There are other word board games that might be adapted as well.

Go raibh maith agat as an gcomhairle.
Paul

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Mare (212.239.215.173 - 212.239.215.173)
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Since i *love* that game, this post set me off searching again.
Seems a student at CSIS / University Limerick in 1998 did a full year project on it:
'Scrabble as Gaeilge' is similar to the board game scrabble except this game is a computerised version which is totally in Irish.
Too bad it isn't available as free software on the website of the university, and no email link to him either. But I haven't given up yet!

If I find it, I'll repost.
Le meas,
M.

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Paul (152.163.252.163 - 152.163.252.163)
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Mare, a chara,
Go raibh maith agat as an teachtaireacht...

Even if the game itself isn't available, if we could find out which letters get how many tiles, and what the point values for those letters are,
we could make up our own 'as Gaeilge' version out of the English version.
An intriguing lead, indeed.

Is mise, Paul

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rath (141.150.43.66 - 141.150.43.66)
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

I did a little research on letter frequency in Irish and found two helpful links.

The first offers letter frequency in Irish as determined by two news articles: http://www.bckelk.uklinux.net/words/etaoin.html
results for one = a i h n r e t s c o l d g u m b á f í é ú ó p

The second is a letter counter:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/~pommeren/Kryptologie/Klassisch/1_Monoalph/count.html

I plugged in a long article, a few paragraphs at a time, because it chokes. This one combines the count for vowels with and without a fada: a i n e r h s o t g u d l c b m f p

Of course, the high frequency for 'h' is the result of séimhiú, and you'll have to decide how to handle the issue of a vowel with a fada.

Let us know how you do agus ádh mór,

Rath

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Alex (152.163.252.163 - 152.163.252.163)
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 11:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello, probably not a good idea BUT

Why not make it like this,

With letters, then a free pile of Hs and maybe even something for the fada

Plus why not make an úrú PIECE?

Like a free space type thing, and all it can do it add the the word?

It could count for the letters as úrú

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Alex (152.163.252.163 - 152.163.252.163)
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 11:08 am:   Edit Post Print Post

http://www.mattelscrabble.com/en/adults/games/clubs/club_sites3.html


this has some of the other languages, also might be the site to contact if you want info or something

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Paul (66.152.218.225 - 66.152.218.225)
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 09:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Rath, a chara,
Thanks for "doing the math." I work with someone who is a Scrabble fanatic. I'll ask her abt this as well...
Go raibh maith agat, a Alex. The mattel/scrabble link was interesting.

Paul

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Alex (205.188.209.10 - 205.188.209.10)
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

tá fáilte ramhat, I didn't do it FOR the people here, I looked on my own interest, as you guys made me think, and had to share :-) the hard part is the lenition, Síneadh(SP) fada, and the Úrú...

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Bradford (216.16.15.66 - 216.16.15.66)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

For anyone that might be interested, a wrote up a letter counter that treats the fáda vowels as separate entities from non-fáda vowels, as I would think you'd want to treat them separately for Scrabble purposes. I plugged in all the articles from the "Articles" section of this site into the counter and came up with the following letter frequency percentages:

A (16.2%), I (9.5%), N (8.2%), H (8.0%), R (6.1%), S (5.3%), E (5.2%), C (4.3%), T (4.3%), G (3.9%), L (3.8%),
D (3.8%), O (3.8%), U (2.8%), M (2.7%), B (2.6%), Í (2.1%), Á (1.9%), É (1.7%), F (1.3%), Ó (0.9%), Ú (0.7%),
P (0.5%), Y (0.1%), K (0.1%), J (0.1%), W (0.1%), V (0.0%), X (0.0%), Z (0.0%), Q (0.0%)

It involved a fair amount of text so I think it's a decent representative sampling (There were 115,649 letters in the total). Also, I removed any passages I came across that were as Béarla. I should also note that all letters were represented, but from a statistical standpoint the last few letters didn't round up enough to be counted.

Hope this helps.

- Bradford

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Canuck (24.103.116.213 - 24.103.116.213)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 08:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dia dhaoibh,
This is a very interesting thread. Scrabble as Gaeilge would be a very good game for learning.

I've had some thoughts on this and my opinion is that we can ignore séimhiú agus urú because we are only forming isolated words.

I'm not certain what to do with the fada's yet. I am thinking it might make the game too complex if we treat 'a' different from 'á'. It might be interesting to have free fada making pieces that can be used to make a word spelled correctly. That way, someone can declare there intention for the letter prior to any challenge.

As for the letter frequency.. I am thinking that there might be issues with just scanning an article. That is, we are trying to find the frequency of letters in individual words, not the frequency in the written language. For example, words like 'agus' and 'ach' will occur more frequently in sentences, and skew the letter value results. It might be more correct to count only the first occurance of a word (minus the séimhiú and urú). Or we could just scan the listed words in dictionary. On that thought, do we need to handle the various transformations the words can undergo for pluralisation etc.? Do we just count the words that are 7 letters or less since that is the number of letters drawn from the bag?

-Canuck

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Paul (68.167.61.145 - 68.167.61.145)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 08:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bradford:
Go raibh maith agat. That's a large sample.
I really appreciate your input.
Paul

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Bradford (24.220.0.48 - 24.220.0.48)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 10:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Canuck,

I agree with your thoughts regarding letter frequency. Ideally you'd just feed in every dictionary entry and count up the letters. Unfortunately that's easier said than done! Unless I could find pages of Irish dictionary entries (with no definitions no less) online and copy them into my letter counter it'd be very difficult to do that. But I'll certainly check into it.

Paul, glad I could help in my own little way.

- Bradford

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Paul (68.167.61.145 - 68.167.61.145)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Regarding the suggestion to feed a whole dictionary into a word counter,
per the official Scrabble website (www.matterscrabble.com),
game inventor Alfred Butts
"calculated the letter frequency and value of each letter of the alphabet by meticulously combing the front page of the New York Times.

Lexico [the precursor of Scrabble] was played without a board and players scored on the basis of the lengths of the words formed. There were additional scores for words employing 'minor honours' (B, F, H, M, P, V, W, Y) and a higher additional score for major
honours (J, K, Q, X, Z).

He reasoned that too many S's made the game too easy. So he reduced them to 4."

Sheesh. I've opened a can of worms.

Go raibh maith agat, Bradford 's Canuck, as na smaointe.

Le meas, Paul

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Canuck (24.103.116.213 - 24.103.116.213)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bradford,

I've just remembered something that might work. There is a unix version of gaelspell kicking around at:
http://borel.slu.edu/~kps/ispell/sios.html
If you unzip the file:
- ispell-gaeilge-3.3 (317K)
there is a file called:
- gaeilge.raw
It contains like 300,000 words WITH derivations.
We may need to ask Kevin P. Scannell permission to use it though. As well, he might be able to help clarify the contents. There are some strings that need to be removed from it that look like /HBMT blah blah blah at the end of some words. What did you use to write up the letter counter?

Slán,
Canuck

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Alex (205.188.209.10 - 205.188.209.10)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 12:45 am:   Edit Post Print Post

OK now I agree BUT, you can't over look Hs completely.....Dorcha....Tuirseach have lenition but arent like that for calling it AN you know?

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Bradford (216.16.15.66 - 216.16.15.66)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 03:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Canuck,

Excellent idea to use the Gaelspell data! Go raibh maith agat. I don't figure it's necessary to get permission to use the data since we're just using it generate some statistics.

I scrubbed up the data until it looked good (removed garbage and duplicates) and ended up with 74,428 distinct words in the file (678,566 letters). Feeding these words into my letter counter I came up with the following usage frequency percentages:

A (15.1%), I (10.6%), H (8.5%), N (6.5%), R (6.1%), C (6.0%), T (5.2%), E (5.2%), L (4.8%), S (4.5%),
O (3.9%), Í (3.4%), M (3.2%), G (3.0%), D (2.8%), Á (2.1%), B (2.0%), U (1.3%), Ó (1.2%), É (1.2%),
Ú (1.2%), F (1.1%), P (1.1%), V (0.1%), J (0.0%), X (0.0%), Z (0.0%), W (0.0%), Y (0.0%), K (0.0%),
Q (0.0%)

It's interesting to note that the loan letters had even less frequency than they did in the Articles section of this website.

Although this data isn't perfect, I feel that these percentages are much less skewed for the reasons you listed above and we also got a significantly larger sampling on top of it.

FYI, I wrote my letter counter in Delphi.

- Bradford

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Paul (67.101.155.42 - 67.101.155.42)
Posted on Monday, January 12, 2004 - 08:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Here's what I found out from my Scrabble-lovin' co-worker.

Here are the letters in the English-language version:

9 A tiles, worth 1 point; 12 E tiles, 1 point; 9 I tiles, 1 point; 8 O tiles, 1 point; 4 Us, 1 pt; 4 Ls, 1 pt; 6 Ns, 1 pt; 6 Rs, 1 pt; 6 Ts; 1 pt; 4 Ds, 2 pts; 3 Gs, 2 pts; 2 Bs, 3 pts; 2 Cs, 3 pts; 2 Fs, 4 pts; 2 Hs, 4 pts; 2 Ms, 3 pts; 2 Ps, 3 pts; 2 Vs, 4 pts; 2 Ws, 4 pts; 2 Ws, 4 pts; 2 Ys, 4 pts; 1 Q, 10 pts; 1 Z 10 pts; 1 J, 8 pts; 1 X, 8 pts; 1 K, 5 pts; 4 Ss, 1 pt; and... 2 blank tiles, worth 0 points.

Also, I found out that the makers of Scrabble offer 100 blank tiles for $6.

I have to admit that I'm math-impaired. Any info you'd have (Bradford, et al) re applying this to a Gaeilge version would be much appreciated.

Go raibh maith agaibh.
Is mise, Paul

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Maidhc Ó G. (4.76.35.13 - 4.76.35.13)
Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 10:48 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ok. I see in the scrubbed up version 23 letters. For the remaining, you could have more blanks.
I think urú shouldn't be allowed as it is caused by the effect of other words and not the words themselves. However, seimhiú should be allowed except in proper nouns ie. genetive of names etc. nor where it may be tagged onto the beginning vowel of a word.
The other uses of seimhiú ie. words in genetive (other than proper nouns) would add to the flavor of the Gaeilge version.
I love this idea!!
Le meas,
-Maidhc.

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Colleen Dollard (134.226.1.114 - 134.226.1.114)
Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Wow! Ní chreidim an méid atá le rá againne faoi Scrabble! Ní dúirt Rath libh go léir gur scríobh muid chuig the makers of scrabble way back when agus d'iarr muid orthu bosca mór litir 'h' a sheoladh chugainn mura raibh siad in ann leagan Gaeilge a dhéanamh duinne. Níor scríobh siad ar ais chugainn, is oth liom a rá. If you're not good at number crunching, not too concerned about winning and or, not willing to buy ten sets of scrabble letters, : ) just try playing with the letters face up and two sets, picking any letters you need -- using new words is way more exciting than a triple letter score, nach fíor? -- if the first word had a fada, then stick to it. If you're new at playing, put a huge long word (like the Irish word for almighty -- that's actually one letter too long for the board) in as a first word and build from that. If beginners are playing and putting down small words, and eclipsing everone else's words, the game ends pretty quickly! Lastly, when you can't fit another letter on the board or are sick of playing, copy the letters down as if the board were the answer key of a crossword puzzle and make up a real crossword puzzle. Maith dhom, I'm not comortasach about Scrabble points, but couldn't let y'all beat me in my Scrabble 'as Gaeilge' fanaticsm

Braithim sibhse uaim!
Colleen

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Tim Mac Mhuiridh (66.235.27.73 - 66.235.27.73)
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 02:20 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Well, we were never so scientific, but we used to play Scottish Gaelic scrabble by flipping over the tiles for the letters that dont appear in Gaelic and writting more gaelic letters on the other side. We simply gauged the need for letters very roughly by the frequency of entries in Dwelly's (the standard Gaelic dictionary) as measured by the thickness of pages for each letter. As I said, not so scientific, but it worked and great fun on cold nights in front of the fire. I think it would be a great learning tool for intermediate learners too. Oh, and we didn' bother to destinguish long and short vowels as that seemed too much of a chore.

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Paul (68.164.201.38 - 68.164.201.38)
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 06:25 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Okay, a chairde,
Here's what I've come up with. I used the letter frequency results that Canuck came up with, looked at the amount and point value of each tile in the English version, and I think I've come up a Gaeilge version.

The number in parentheses are the amount of tiles for that letter.
The following are all worth one point:
A (11), I (9), N (8), H (6), E (6), R (6), S (6)

Worth 2 points:
O(4), C (4), T (4)

Worth 3 points:
G (3), L (3), D (3), U (3)

Worth 4 points:
M (2)

Worth 5 points:
B (2)

Worth 8 points:
F (2)

Worth 10 points:
P (2)

Worth zero points:
2 blank tiles

Míle maith agat as na smaointe agus barúlacha, a chairde.

Le gach dea-ghuí, Paul

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Laura a hAon (64.157.58.66 - 64.157.58.66)
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 10:15 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Brilliant!!! I'm just starting to seriously study Gaeilge, and have kicked the "I wish I knew how to build a Scrabble set..." idea around for a bit -- this is fantastic!! The quantity/distribution of letters was the part I've been "stuck" on.

I've had great luck at yard sales, on ebay, etc. in finding inexpensive (and frequently incomplete) Scrabble sets. Also, Barnes & Noble has started carrying a travel set that looks quite nice, is much smaller than the "regular" set, and can be found for about $20 per set iirc.

Go raibh maith agaibh!

-Laura a hAon

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Ivan Plis (65.54.97.188 - 65.54.97.188)
Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 03:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oh yeah, the travel sets are very nice. I've also got a regular set in Russian, and it fits the language very well. I assume if the company ever makes a version as Gaeilge, the language nuts who get hired will do a similarly adequate job.

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