Scrabble – a fun way to practice Spanish???

We actually managed to put down the word "Quitaras"!

What is a typical “tranquilo” day in Cuenca for me? Last week my boyfriend and I rented bikes from the Loft Garden Cafe and rode down to the Yanuncay River. After a while we looked for a resting place and the signs for Popacachu bakery jumped out. The bakery is run by friendly gringos, and we ordered a cappuccino, and spotted their board games collection.

Scrabble? Hell yeah!

Shall we play Scrabble en español? Por que no?

That’s when the hilarity ensued. They had the regular English language version of Scrabble. We had trouble coming up with words like “es” or “el” or “yo” and “gato” and “casa”. The difficult part was that the English language has way fewer vowels than Spanish, and certain letters like K are extremely rare in Spanish.

Later that week we bought the Scrabble boardgame, Spanish edition. We weren’t sure how much the Spanish edition would help our game. (Hint: A LOT!). There are more vowel tiles than in the English language edition, special characters for “rr”, “ch”, “ll”, etc. On my second turn I managed to place the word “deshace” -to undo, using all my letters for a monumental 74 points. My score at the end was 349 points (better than most games of Scrabble in English that I’ve played). How did I do better in Spanish than English? There are simply way more options, and this is why Scrabble is a great way to practice your Spanish.

We actually managed to put down the word "Quitaras"!

We actually managed to put down the word “Quitaras”!

Why Scrabble makes you practice your Spanish

One word: Conjugations

When you play Scrabble in English, you always look for ways to add an “s” onto the end of words for more points. Now imagine the possibilities with Spanish verb conjugations! And you practice all the verb forms. For example, you can turn any word “Camina” into:

  • Caminas (you walk)
  • Caminara (he will walk)
  • Caminare (I will walk)
  • Caminando (walking)
  • Caminaba (I walked)
  • Caminaron (They walked)
  • A gazillion other Spanish verb variations…..

Tips for Scrabble in Spanish

  • A penalty (1 point) for putting a word on the board that does not exist.
  • If you want to know if words are acceptable, you can look up words on this website – the Spanish Scrabble dictionary online
  • If you are in Cuenca, you can buy the game at Coral Centro in Mall de Rio.
  • If you are in the US or Canada, you can get the game on Amazon
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