Friday, February 24, 2012


I have a confession to make. I am addicted to playing games like Words with Friends and Wordscraper on Facebook. In an attempt to make this vice somehow productive, I am now playing Wordscraper in Italian. There are two problems with this:

1) I actually know very little Italian.
2) The designers of the game must know even less Italian.

Different languages have different distributions of letters, even if you discount all the accent marks, etc. I bought a Scrabble game while in Spain. (Yes, this obsession goes back before Facebook.) The Spanish version has letters such as "ll", "rr" and "ch."

The designers of Wordscraper, bless their hearts, did not take this into account. Italian does not use the letters "j", "k", "w", "x" or "y" except in foreign words, but it uses a heck of a lot of "a"s, "i"s and "o"s. This can leave one with a bunch of useless letters and no vowels, which is sort of how I feel when I need to say something and my Italian momentarily deserts me. Sometimes, when I'm speaking a foreign language, even my English deserts me and I find myself struggling to say, "My brain isn't working," in any language at all. How do you say, "Senior moment," in Italian?

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