Recently I have seen quite a few blog posts written about re-evaluating the points values assigned to the different letter tiles in the Scrabble™ brand Crossword Game. The premise behind these posts is that the creator and designer of the game assigned point values to the different tiles according to their relative frequencies of occurrence in words in English text, supplemented by information gathered while playtesting the game. The points assigned to different letters reflected how difficult it was to play those letters: common letters like E, A, and R were assigned 1 point, while rarer letters like J and Q were assigned 8 and 10 points, respectively. These point values were based on the English lexicon of the late 1930’s. Now, some 70 years later, that lexicon has changed considerably, having gained many new words (e.g.: EMAIL) and lost a few old ones. So, if one were to repeat the analysis of the game designer in the present day, would one come to different conclusions regarding how points should be assigned to various letters?
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