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Polyglot Scrabble

This web page describes a version of Polyglot Scrabble played in Toronto, Canada. We've tried it once (successfully!) in an organised setting at the ATA Scrabble Social. If you're interested in playing the game, please contact Toronto Scrabble Club Director John Chew at or +1 416 876 7675.

Rules (2004-10-14)

[game board photo] We play according to NSA Tournament Rules, with the following modifications:

  1. When you make a play, you must designate a language for each word. Word acceptability and tile point values (click link for a table of official values) are determined with reference only to the designated language. For example, the word WHISKY scores a base 4+4+1+1+5+4 = 19 points in English, but 10+4+1+1+10+10 = 36 points in French. The language designation applies only for the turn in which a word was played: WHISKY (English) could be turned into WHISKYS (French). If you designate a language that does not have an official set of tile values, the word is scored in English but (if challenged) is looked up in the designated language.
  2. Accents and other diacritical marks are ignored, as are digraph conventions. In particular, a regular 'A' tile may be used where an 'Ä' or even 'Å' tile would be required in another language, and letter combinations such as CH, CS, GY, LL, LY, NY, RR, SZ or TY that must be spelled using a single tile in some languages should be spelled using two tiles. The Croatian tile 'DŽ' may be played without the caron, using the two tiles 'D' and 'Z'.
  3. Languages written in non-Roman scripts (within the Scrabble world, Arabic, Bulgarian, Greek, Hebrew and Russian) should be played using agreed-upon transliterations but scored using their official point values. For example, the Russian letter 'Щ' requires the four English tiles 'SHCH' to play, and that combination of letters in a word designated to be in Russian scores ten points.
  4. [Optional, waived by common consent 2004-10-15] If a Roman transliteration requires a symbol not found in the English alphabet (such as a Russian hard/soft sign or an Arabic glottal stop) a player may play one tile facedown in its place, scoring zero for that tile. Only one facedown tile may be played per turn. If a facedown tile is played representing an apostrophe customarily used to transliterate a glottal stop in one language, it may be used in a subsequent play to represent any other sound (such as the palatalization of a preceding Russian consonant) customarily transliterated as an apostrophe.
  5. [Added 2004-10-22] Tiles remaining on racks when one player plays out are scored using English tile values. In a multiplayer game, players with tiles on their racks have the value of those tiles deducted from their final score, and the player with no tiles left has the value of all the unplayed tiles added to their score.