Author Topic: Word question/suggestion  (Read 956 times)

KatKall

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Word question/suggestion
« on: June 18, 2021, 07:21:38 AM »
Hello,

I have noticed lately that words like “Latina” and “Latino” are accepted, but “Latin” is not . Likewise, “Satanic” is accepted, while “Satan” is not. It’s a bit confusing what the distinction is, and also what proper nouns are accepted. For example, the 7-by-many puzzle will accept the names of various currencies (such as “Ruble” or “Rupee”), but it does not allow for names of certain countries. This is a little confusing and is affecting my “hit percentage.” If anyone can explain the logic and/or clarify why some of these words are allowed, but others are not, it would be appreciated.

Alan W

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2021, 03:15:07 PM »
Hello, KatKall. Welcome to our forum. As the person running the Chihuahua site, I'll try to answer your question.

The rule we aim to follow is that words written with an initial capital letter are not permitted. Applying this rule is fairly straightforward in the case of satanic vs Satan - the former is almost always written in all lower-case letters, while the latter has a capital S. Likewise with currencies (lower case) and country names (capitalized).

Things get a bit blurrier when a word can be written either way. I have to admit that Latino and Latina are almost always written with a capital L, but they have occasionally been written in all lower-case. Wiktionary is the only dictionary I could see that gave the lower-case version as an alternative form.
Alan Walker
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KatKall

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2021, 03:10:17 AM »
Thank you so much for the help (and for this great game)! I'm still a little confused on some of proper nouns and adjectives. I understand that Chihuahua uses is Wiktionary. Nevertheless, I cannot get certain word accepted that may generally be proper nouns and  commonly capitalized, but they are also listed in Wiktionary as separate, uncapitalized words. For example, I tried playing "cypriot."  I realize it's generally a proper noun that is capitalized, but Wiktionary has two listings: one is "Cypriot" (capitalized & referring to someone from Cyprus); the other is "cypriot" (no capitalization, listed as a noun with the same definition).

I try to use the general rule you suggested and have found it very helpful, but there are times I'm just not sure, and even if I check the Wiktionary after I've found the word, I am frequently told that what I submitted is not a word. The same rule does not appear to apply to words that tend to refer to a population; Wiktionary typically lists both capitalized and non-capitalized versions. I believe this is because some adjectives that were originally capitalized have now lost their capitalization because of current convention, but the most standard way I have been acquainted with as an editor was that proper adjectives that refer to where something comes from/religions/etc. (or that refer to a proper noun) are also capitalized.

I asked previously about "Latin"/"latin" and "Latino/latino." Both the proper noun and adjective there are typically capitalized. However, "latin" (lowercase) it is also the a singular form of of "lati" or "latu," the currency used by Latvia until 2014. Sometimes, the puzzle will accept French, Latin, or other non-English words that we have borrowed and/or now use in English. For example, "juste" was accepted today when I tried it, even though it is not accepted as a word by Scrabble/Merriam Webster. Wiktionary does list it, but only as a word that appears to be accepted if it is used in French or Esperanto. I sometimes hesitate to try certain fairly commonly-used words that have become part of our lexicon but  originate elsewhere or, technically speaking, are not English words. When I try that, I get mixed results (usually not accepted).

My last question is about compound words (that may or may not have required/require hyphenation or been distinct words at times). I was allowed to play "bartender," but not "barback," which is a commonly accepted word and is not hyphenated or treated as two words by Wiktionary. I can sometimes play words like this, and sometimes I can't. I assumed that if a word requires a hyphen, it's not accepted because it isn't spelled without one, but some of these others are a little confusing. Any additional information is greatly appreciated, and thank you again! This is my favorite word game.

Alan W

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2021, 02:55:25 PM »
Hello again, KatKall.

The allowable words in Chihuahua are not based on Wiktionary. I think Wiktionary was still in its infancy in 2005 when Chihuahua started. In any case, I used a word list compiled by someone else, known as YAWL - Yet Another Word List. But since then hundreds of words have been added to our list following player suggestions. So the only definitive guide to words permitted in Chihuahua is the Chihuahua word list itself, which you can of course check by trying to play any word.

The definitions shown when you click on a word are derived from Wiktionary, since YAWL doesn't come with definitions. This is provided as a convenience, but not every permitted word is in Wiktionary, and not every word in Wiktionary is permitted.

In general it's not possible to specify any foolproof rules for knowing in advance which words of certain types will be accepted, e.g. which words of foreign origin, which compound words, etc.

Wiktionary covers many languages, as you note in relation to juste (which actually isn't accepted in Chihuahua). As far as I can see, the only cypriot without a capital C is a Swedish word. Also I couldn't find any reference to latin being a former Latvian currency. It seems to have been either lat or lats.

Barback could be a word that should be added to our list. I'll look into it.
Alan Walker
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Began

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2021, 05:02:16 PM »
So the only definitive guide to words permitted in Chihuahua is the Chihuahua word list itself, which you can of course check by trying to play any word.

Hi Alan,
Just a random thought... Is it possible to 'publish' the chi word list in some way so that users can see it? Excuse my ignorance of how these things work, but I'm imagining that the chi word list exists as a database somewhere that the game draws from to identify playable words. Is there a way you could make that public somewhere, so that players could look up words / see which words are allowable?

This is all well outside my area of expertise, so I've no idea how easy or difficult that would be to accomplish, or even if it's something people would want at all. It just occurred to me that it might help those people who like to only play common words and are looking for a way to tell before submitting a word.

What do others think?

pat

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2021, 05:34:52 PM »
A cheats' charter to be sure!

I can't imagine that anyone is so obsessed with their hit rate that they'd prefer to spend time searching a database to see if a word is playable rather than just try the word. Maybe a better solution would be to simply remove the hit rate calculation! (Not a serious suggestion, before wrath descends on me, but it would certainly save a lot of grief.)

guyd

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2021, 05:53:31 PM »
Indeed

mkenuk

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2021, 09:29:35 PM »
I agree with Pat. I have never used anagram solvers and the like and I don't troll through the dictionary looking for words that fit the letters; I try to play only words that I know and can define - at least to myself!
It happens occasionally that I have a 'serendipity' moment - checking the form of nucleic a few days ago,  I accidentally came across nucleonic and nucleoli, both of which I played - well, It would have been churlish not to!.

Greynomad

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2021, 05:44:00 AM »
Isn’t it good how we all like to play the game differently?

If some like to play only seed words, well and good.

If some want to play all words, that’s fine.

If others look for just common words, and wish to maintain a high hit rate, so be it.

Surely it can’t hurt to have a facility to use to check words, that you know of have found, to see if they are rare, common, allowed or not. If some wish to use that fine, if others don’t, fine.

Just play it your own way.

Forums are full of differing opinions, and that’s what makes them great.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 05:47:24 AM by Greynomad »

Jacki

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2021, 08:54:09 AM »
Right on Grey Nomad. Beautifully said. I actually think it’s harder just trying to get the common words with the quirks of Chi’s rare and common hidden away.
At the end of the day you have to think of the word first (if you’re not using an anagram solver like Mike talks about) and then decide if it’s likely to be common or not if you’re playing to keep a low error rate on your percentage. And I find that more challenging than just putting in every word I know, which is what I did when I started playing.
I love that KatKall has so much enthusiasm and it absolutely does not matter how you want to play - everyone is different!
I drink to make other people more interesting.

Maudland

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2021, 10:42:25 AM »
I can’t see the point of publishing the list - which would need constant updating, considering how often words are added or their status changed. Unless Alan hasn’t got enough to do? There are plenty of other ways to check a word, if you must - if that’s how you want to play. Just like there are anagram solvers, so you can always get a perfect score. (Although - plurals! :o)

But a list would take away the point of having a hit rate at all. It’s a game - and sometimes in games, you lose a point or two! There’s always that moment of decision - do you sacrifice your hit rate, or your score? … Sometimes you have to choose one or the other …

Jacki

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2021, 10:45:45 AM »
I agree. Personally, publishing the master list would take away the challenge for me.
I drink to make other people more interesting.

Alan W

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2021, 04:28:25 PM »
Began floated the idea of making the Chi word list available in some form, but said she didn't know if anybody would want such a thing. So far nobody has said they would like such a facility.

In a recent post I said:

Quote
If a player wants to set themselves the challenge of achieving a high score with a 100% hit rate, good luck to them. But if you could find out in advance whether any particular word is allowed by looking it up in an "authoritative" dictionary, the challenge would evaporate. Maintaining a 100% hit rate would become a tedious clerical chore. Or am I missing something?

I feel as if the same could be said about aiming to play only common words. If there was a list or tool you could consult to check any word before playing it, to see if it's classed as common or rare, there would be no challenge any more.
Alan Walker
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Maudland

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2021, 04:39:11 AM »
I agree, Alan. If you manufacture it so you play common words only, or manufacture a 100% hit rate, a rosette or even a trophy - what’s the point? Where’s the game?

Alan W

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Re: Word question/suggestion
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2021, 04:43:49 PM »
During this discussion KatKall asked why barback was not accepted. It was a new word to me, but it is found in various dictionaries as a single word. The main meaning is an assistant to a barkeeper, but the online Oxford gives an additional meaning:

Quote
A piece of furniture designed to stand behind a bar, typically incorporating a counter and storage space as well as decorative elements such as mirrors.

The word, in either sense, seems to be used mainly in North America. It will be accepted in Chi from now on, as a rare word.

Alan Walker
Creator of Lexigame websites