Bananagrams

May 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Australia, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Writing and Life | 9 Comments
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words

 

I love words. Going deeper, I love the way words are created, and how they are represented on paper or on the screen by a series of little squiggles. Then, how they are joined together to create meaning.

I wonder how the prehistoric people first gave specific meanings to the guttural sounds they uttered & how they created simple languages. Over hundreds and thousands of years these languages became more and more complex. As mankind spread farther and wider across the globe, these languages became more and more different from each other.

Eventually, someone, or some groups, worked out a way of representing speech through pictures – probably beginning with the ancient cave paintings we now marvel over. Starting with these pictures, which represented their world – the animals, the weapons, the spirits, they eventually created symbols that would represent either sounds or words. And so writing was born.

 

Egyptian hieroglyphs

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs

 

For most of history, writing was under the control of religion, then of the rich and powerful. If the lower classes could read and write, they would be a real threat to the ruling classes.

It is hard to believe that it was only relatively recently that writing and reading have become fairly common throughout the world. Spoken words are all around us of course and now, so are written words. First we had books and magazines and newspapers; now, we also have written electronic communications. Nowadays, we have more writings and thus more things to read than we can possibly cope with.

We can also play with words. There are even many games that draw upon one’s knowledge of words – their spelling, meaning, matching them, or simply putting letters together to create existing words within a pattern.

crossword &pen

I love unusual words, or words that may be difficult to say or words that have a rhythm & that are pleasing to the ear. Words like exculpation, elegiac, dendrochronology, propinquity. I love crossword puzzles too – the straight ones and the cryptic ones, with their clever use of language and meaning.

My latest word game, given to me a couple of years ago by my son and daughter-in-law (who know my love of word games) is one that I have become almost addicted to. BananagramsR is a tile game similar to Scrabble, but without the board.

Bananagram bag

They are called Bananagrams because the tiles come in a cloth bag shaped like a banana!  There are lots of letter tiles and the aim is to create your own crossword with them. It is made to be played with others, because I have nobody who wants to play with me, I play alone.

I find the game to be very absorbing but, at the same time, very relaxing. Whenever I am stressed, I get out the ivory-coloured tiles and lose myself in a world of word creation.

Bananagram 2

This is one of my Bananagrams – great with a snack & a cup of tea.

It’s not just making words either. As I also like the order of patterns and the symmetry of crosswords, I try to make my own puzzles as tight as possible. Within the limits of the rules and the number of tiles allowed to be picked up at a time, there is also a randomness to the game, to the words I can create, every time I play.

Do you play with words? What is your favourite word game?

© Linda Visman

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments »

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  1. Well it makes sense to have a scrabble-like game without the board. I imagine you need to play with someone do you? Love the cooler months as we pick up our indoor night time distractions. I’ve got a puzzle out but so far only the frame is in place. Thanx for sharing 🙂 Linda

    • It is normal to play with someone, Linda, but I have made it into a one-person game. A neighbour saw my Bananagrams and found herself a set online. She admitted to me a few weeks later that she was addicted too. 🙂

  2. I’m right there with you, Linda. I love words and word games. I have to curb my word-game addiction, or I’d do that all day and ignore my other “wordly” desires 😀

  3. I used to be an avid cryptic crossword fan, although not lately I confess. A game my mother used to play (which some would regard as sacrilege) involved taking an old paperback novel and creating a new story or stories within it, by the use of highlighters. To conform with her ‘rules’ you had to use all the words in the book, and the same colour highlighter for each new plot, so, pink would tell one story, yellow another, and so on. It’s actually quite hard to do, and I’ve ruined one or two fairly inferior works of fiction without succeeding, but she was expert: she could often get three stories or more from one book.

    You see, my family were always a bit weird – which explains me, I guess.

    • Wow, Frederick, that would really be difficult to do! Your mother obviously loved words & stories. It comes out in you, as you have a wonderful way with words and telling stories. 🙂
      Not weird though; just able in a different way.

      • Why, thank you ma’am! That’s me – differently enabled 🙂

  4. I love words and word-games. I used to play Scrabble, and do crosswords… Don’t have much time, these days, unfortunately…

  5. Hi Linda, nice article. You might be interested in an anagram game I developed for Mac or PC decades ago but only recently brought it into the 21st Century and released it. Its called MacAnagram and being relatively new to WordPress presume you will be able to find its page via this comment. If not let me know!


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