Most word games like scrabble, boggle, bananagrams, etc., have a set of rules on what is an acceptable word, e.g. no proper nouns, no slang, no foreign words, no technical jargon, has to be in the dictionary. Some of these rules bug the descriptivist in me, but I think you need some sort of rules for those games so people don’t just make things up. Anyway, I was wondering, how do you other linguists like to play these games, assuming the people you’re playing with let you change the rules a bit.
My friends and I play descriptivist Scrabble. Neologisms coined on the spot are frowned upon (particularly when they appear to violate the usual phonotactics of English), but if it’s attested in the language, it’s a valid play. Usually a quick Google search is all it takes to verify that.
I like to play Scrabble, Bananagrams, etc with rules inspired by Balderdash/Malarkey. If you can convince a majority of your co-players that it’s a word, then it’s totally legit.
Or you can play the corpus version, where you specify a minimum number of google hits for contested words (in mostly English though). The only problem with this is that you can also get lots of hits for common typos which to me aren’t really words most of the time, even in a descriptivist approach (real words = anything a speaker intends to say). So “teh”, sure, I’d buy it being used deliberately for ironic effect. But does anyone really mean to say “becuase”, or would they change it if they noticed?
I’ve always wanted to play multilingual scrabble but never had the right player group and equipment at the same time.