28 February 2010

Word Links?

Years ago when we first settled down in the U.S. of A., there was a word game my sister CH and I used to play. We had one year of English private school before leaving Viet Nam as boat people and that helped but there was so much more to learn. The word game was supposed to help us increase our vocabularies. I am not sure if CH invented it or learned it from someone. Heck, maybe TOTA taught CH, for all I know.

Start the game by uttering a word. Almost any word, but not people's names or places. The other person would then have to reply with a word that starts with a letter that is the last letter of the previous word. For example, if the first word is BLOG then the second word can be GORILLA, then APPLE, which would be followed by EXQUISITE, and so on. I discovered that many words end in E, K, and Y and would focus on learning words that start with those letters. Thus I picked up K words like KITH, KIN, and KNOLL, or Y words like YOUTH, YODEL, and YOKE. I am sure playing the game helped me somewhat with my vocabulary.

I am really curious if CH and I, maybe TOTA too, are the only people who know about this game. I arbitrarily named this game Word Links, as in the post title, but maybe it has a real name. Maybe it's a common game used by English teachers? Let me know!


  1. If you want to learn words that start with E, K or Y (or any other letter) you can just type the following in to the Freeplay Search column of a Web site I developed at http://www.lexifind.com :

    Starting with E:

    E.* (E dot star)

    This shows 7184 words starting with E in the North American Scrabble word list TWL. The longest is "EASYGOINGNESSES." The smallest is "EX."

    Starting with K:

    K.* (K dot star)

    There are 1857 words starting with K in the TWL list. The longest is KAFFEEKLATSCHES and the smallest is KI.

    Starting with Y:

    Y.* (Y dot star)

    There are 590 words starting with Y in the TWL list. One of the longest is YOUTHFULNESSES and one of the smallest is YO.

    FYI, there are 17,851 words ending in E ( enter .*E ), 1523 ending in K ( enter .*K ), and 13,355 ending in Y. So, while words ending in both E and Y are, as you thought, very common, words ending in K may not be as common as you think. For example, there are 3164 words ending in A ( .*A ), 3937 ending in C and 16,770 ending in D, so each of those three letters ends more words than does K.

    If you are only interested in short words (say, having a maximum length of 8 letters) then you can find these by entering the following:


    (for words starting with E that have at most 7 additional letters).



  2. Thanks, Carl. Hmm, very tempting to use your web site the next time I play Scrabble...

  3. Good evening to you. Honestly I don't remember playing this game. But I have forgotten a lot of things we did 30+ years ago.
    Hope things are ok in NYC after the big snow storm. Nice skyline on your Plurk.
    Thanks for a trip down Memory Lane - I always enjoy reading stories "Remember when ....".
    We have nice weather here, sunny and sort of cool.