Non-English languages that use the 26 letters used in English

Hi, a board game design friend asked me if it was possible to use an English Scrabble set and play in a language that is not English. Are there any, or many, languages that use the 26 letters that are used in English enough that playing a game like Scrabble is possible? Thanks

Comments

  • Jens KutilekJens Kutilek Posts: 261
    edited September 6
    For German, in some kinds of games like crossword puzzles, etc., usually those German letters are substituted:

    Ä → AE
    Ö → OE
    Ü → UE
    ß  → SS

    Scrabble has umlaut letters in Germany (and the rules forbid using AE, etc., to represent umlauts), but it might as well be played substituting the letters as shown above.

    When I scan a font containing only A-Z and a-z with my own orthography support tool, it reports those 35 orthographies as supported:

    Asu
    Bemba
    Bena
    Chiga
    Cornish
    English
    Gusii
    Indonesian
    Kalenjin
    Kinyarwanda
    Low Saxon
    Luo
    Luyia
    Machame
    Makhuwa-Meetto
    Makonde
    Malay
    Morisyen
    North Ndebele
    Nyankole
    Oromo
    Rombo
    Rundi
    Rwa
    Samburu
    Sangu
    Shambala
    Shona
    Soga
    Somali
    Swahili
    Taita
    Teso
    Vunjo
    Zulu
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited September 6
    Of course, if you play German Scrabble with an English set, the letters will have the wrong weights...
    (Then again, the Y bearing 10 points in German usually leads to someone playing NY, MY, or EY for 51 points once a game...)
    (Any WordFeud players here?)
  • Scrabble-nerd note: The value of letters in the English version Scrabble is based on the frequency of those letters in English!
  • KP MawhoodKP Mawhood Posts: 234
    edited September 6
    Given that there are 100 tiles in a scrabble set, you'd need a language with a very similar letter frequency (small differences would unfairly impact overall gameplay).

    E.g. According to this study (pp.27–9), Swedish has a relatively strong letter frequency correlation with English. But, this probably would not undo the advantage bestowed upon English-players when using an English Scrabble set. There are stark differences. For instance, Swedish Scrabble has separate tiles for Ä, Ö, and Å, while the letters Q and W are absent, but can be played with a blank (see Scrabble letter distributions).

    Perhaps, some English-based creole languages?
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 324
    Thanks everyone, this is really helpful! :-)

  • When I scan a font containing only A-Z and a-z with my own orthography support tool, it reports those 35 orthographies as supported:

    Asu
    (etc.)
    The problem is many of these are supported with only A-Z and a-z because they use *less* than these 26 letters.

    A Kinyarwanda speakers not going to have much use for an L and a Swahili speaker is certainly going to be stumped by a Q or X.
  • Like others have mentioned, there are a few languages that the English alphabet could be used for (Afar comes to mind as a full A-Z).

    However, to expand on Johannes' and Katy's points, Scrabble has different boards and different number of letters, based on letter frequency for a given language, which would make letters have different "drop" ratios (or "pull", as you pull them from the bag).
  • You could play scrabble in Latin! Personally I would say I/J and U/V are acceptable distinctions to draw (and these are well sorted out for those who do distinguish between them). The letter W would not be used, however.
  • Indonesian here!

    Yes, we do have the exact same 26 letters that English use. But it will be a really tough challenge to play Scrabble in Indonesian, since most of our words are lot longer than English.

    As @Johannes Neumeier said, it depends on the letter frequency. We'll need different letter sets.



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