Word Game – What is it, concept, function and examples

We explain what word games are, in which areas they are used, their function and examples of various types.

Word games can be mental, use materials, or be board games.

What is a play on words?

Different hobbies are called puns and play activities that involve words, letters, or language skills. They are very common as a form of entertainment, but they also have a pedagogical and educational value, especially during the school stages, as a method of exercising vocabulary, writing and / or spelling.

Some of these games may be board games, involving pieces and a certain type of material produced, while others are entirely mental or require little or no pencil and paper, such as word searches. The most traditional of all, however, they usually combine rhyme, tongue twisters, paradox and other forms of play with the language, and are transmitted orally from generation to generation.

Word games are common in humorous settings, such as the popular joke or certain literature, and due to their strongly idiosyncratic nature, they are often untranslatable. They commonly take advantage of homophony and homography, to suggest second and third senses, difficult to grasp by non-native speakers of the language.

Examples of word games

Some examples of word games are:

  • The tongue twistersComplex pronunciation phrases that must be said in a row, and that usually tell a humorous story or figurative content. For example: “Three sad tigers swallow wheat in a wheat field.”
  • The calambures, which are humorous phrases in which the modification of a syllable alters the meaning of what is said, usually adding a picaresque double meaning. For example: “Between the white carnation and the red rose, your majesty choose. / Between the white carnation and the red rose, her majesty is lame ”.
  • Alphabet soups, which are printed squares containing scattered letters, and in which the reader must find and mark certain words in a straight line, combining the letters available to do so. They are very common in hobby magazines.
  • Crosswords, another famous pastime, consists of filling a printed board with black and white squares, similar to chess but with a specific order, writing in the white squares the answer to a set of keys listed separately.
  • Scrabble, a board game that faces two or more players on a checkered board, on which they must build words with the seven letters randomly assigned to them initially, using them strategically to form long, high-scoring words.
  • Hangman, a traditional game in which each player takes turns choosing a word, and the other must guess it by suggesting the letters that compose it. For each success, the corresponding letter will be written and it will be easier for you to guess the whole word, but for each mistake, a fragment of a stick man (stick doll) will be drawn hanging from a gallows. If the little man is fully drawn, the diviner will lose the game and the roles must be exchanged.