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Word tips: The best words to start, according to a linguist

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Speech. It’s the everyday word game that grabs the world’s attention, with everyone from Richard Osman to comedian Rosie Jones trying to master the five-letter word of the day.

In fact, the game in which the user has six attempts to guess the word daily is said to be played by three million people globally.

Created by Josh Wardle, the game has been acquired by New York Times (NYT) earlier this month for an undisclosed seven-figure sum. Not bad for the simple game that Wardle created as a gift for his partner.

Since it exploded in popularity – and on our Twitter feeds – at the start of the new year, people have posted their daily scores with yellow and green squares. But why are we so obsessed with games?

Why is Wordle so popular?

“A big part is the social – and yet not really competitive – side of Wordle,” says Lynne Murphy, professor of linguistics and chair of the English language and linguistics department at the University of Sussex. The Independent.

“Friends compare scores but also wonder about each other’s strategies. There’s just enough information in the ‘share’ section for you to try to do an interesting autopsy, but not enough to spoil the fun for others,” she added.

This isn’t the first time a pun has become popular, as Murphy says many people in the “pun” world have done the same with NYTSpelling Bee.

She continued: “But the beauty of Wordle, and why it’s so popular, is that it requires no registration, only takes a few minutes to complete, and only has one quiz per day. You can do it without fear that you will fall into a gaming hole and lose half of your morning. “

Another reason behind the game’s popularity could be because you don’t need a “huge vocabulary” to participate. “The answers are words that most English speakers know. So you can’t really get mad at a puzzle when you don’t get an answer,” said Murphy.

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What are the best starting words for Wordle?

Some users swear by starting each game with the same word. Often heavily vowel-heavy, some common starters include ‘ADIEU’, ‘STEAK’, ‘TREAD’, ‘TABLE’ and ‘AUDIO’.

But is this really the best tactic? Murphy, a Wordle fan who plays the game daily in three different languages, says she changes words that start with – but they’re always heavy on consonants.

“Consonants are more informative than vowels – there is more to them to remove contention,” she explains. “Things like ‘CLAMP’ or ‘DRINK’, have an ‘L’ or a ‘R’ and an ‘M’ or ‘N’.

“While if you guessed something vowel-heavy like ‘ALIEN’ at the beginning, you might know that the word has an ‘A’ and an ‘E’, but a lot of words have those two vowels – you have not yet determined is many words spoken.

“I like the early use of ‘L’, ‘R’, ‘N’ and ‘M’ (linguists call them sonorant consonants) because they combine easily with other consonants. Once I knew that a word with a ‘P’ did not have an ‘L’, for example, I eliminated a lot of words that could have a ‘P’. “

Murphy said she finds it “more fun” to change the starting word each day or play the previous day’s word to “feel like a continuation” of the previous day.

She added: “I also play in two other languages ​​that I don’t know either, and those I always start with the same word: LAGOM in Swedish and AVOIR in French. It’s more due to lack of vocabulary than to anything else! ”

Can you be ‘good’ at Wordle?

Although strategy helps a lot, Wordle relies heavily on luck. After all, no one but the developers knew what the word of the day would be. But why do some people seem “better” than others?

People who tend to follow language patterns can give themselves an advantage, as Murphy says some patterns are more common.

“Language is all about stereotypes,” she continued. “We also have some perception that some letters are more common than others, especially at the beginning of words. It seems to me that people are even worse off when a word ends with a ‘Y’, which is funny because there are so many words that end with a ‘Y’. But I think we have a little fixation at the beginning of the word. “

What are the benefits of playing Wordle?

As well as the sense of community that Wordle brings, Murphy says anything that makes you think in different ways “must be good mental exercise.”

“Playing it makes you more conscious of how English words and English spelling work. And if you play in a different language than the dictionary, it can be a vocabulary booster,” she explains.

“But I’m probably more excited about it bringing some lighthearted joy and a shared experience to social media at a time when things can feel tense and grim.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/games/wordle-tips-the-best-words-to-start-with-according-to-a-linguistics-expert-41444367.html Word tips: The best words to start, according to a linguist

Fry Electronics Team

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