The design of Setswana Scrabble

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 36, issue 2, 2016, pages: 153–161
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2016.1252008
Author(s): Thapelo J OtlogetsweFaculty of Humanities,


This article proposes the design of a Setswana Scrabble. It argues that Setswana Scrabble will contribute to the development, preservation and promotion of the Setswana language as children and language users in general develop their vocabulary through the Scrabble game. The paper studies the frequency distribution of Setswana characters using WordSmith Tools (version 6) software and a 20 million-word Setswana corpus that captures a broad representation of the linguistic variability of the language. The results of the study are then used to propose a Setswana Scrabble design. Through frequency profiling, the number of tiles per character are proposed as well as the point allocation for each character that is used in the language. This study proposes Setswana Scrabble with 102 scrabble tiles, 100 of which bear a character and a point, while two are blank with no point value. In total 45 vowel tiles, 55 consonant tiles and 2 blank tiles are proposed.

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