Adding words: This is the language that never ends adding words my friends

By Janet Hommel Mangas

I was just getting used to the new words list published by Oxford English Dictionary, which as we all know is the definitive record of the English language because it says so on their tagline.

Words like: fatberg, afound, corporation pop, bachcha, waterzooi, fundoscopic, bhavan, and my favorite, Zyzzyva.

I can honestly say no one lately has called me a bachcha — but my nieces and nephews are just that! (Back in the day of dinosaurs one would run to the household dictionary to find out what their Auntie just called them, but now I envision them scampering to the computer or smart-device to look up ‘bachcha’ — a wonderful sphere where you can also conveniently listen to how it is pronounced.)

Where I can slowly embrace the addition of thousands of words a year like “Seussian,” relating to the works of Dr. Seuss or “binge-watching,” I admit I reacted rather pharisaically when I heard that Words with Friends was adding 50,000 pop culture words to their scrabble-like mobile game. (Note to my nieces and nephews: the word pharisaical was first used in print in 1527, but comes from the first century Biblical term Pharisee, who were leaders that lived by a legalistic list of rules and rituals.)

I should probably disclose that my family, (who loves me dearly, by the way) used to play Scrabble with me — they hated it. It seems that a certain someone in the family, whose name rhymes with planet, took entirely too long to find the perfect word to play. All I remember as I gently laid down my wooden squared letter tiles, forming a unique and probably high-scoring word, is my family saying in unison: “Mom, c’mon already!”

So you see why playing Words with Friends with perfect strangers or friends who can’t sigh loudly in the same room would appeal to me when the mobile game came out. It was a perfect game because I could take up to a week to play one word as opposed to my Scrabble-playing family leaving the game to wash the car or mow the lawn, in their impatience of my next move.

But Words with Friends has betrayed me by adding pop culture words such as BFF, yas and turnt. Those are not real words. The first time an opponent used the word za (slang for pizza), I just shook my head in disbelief. Then I ordered a thin crust pepperoni pizza because it sounded good.

I’m curious why Gurpreet Singh, the director of Words with Friends, felt the need to add slang words. Was it because the rapper Ludacris came out in January with his version called ‘Slang N’ Friendsz’?

Call me old-fashioned, but when I play a game, I like to follow the rules. I’m still looking for a mobile game called ‘Real Words with Friends.’

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove
area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments