By now, you’ve no doubt seen or heard of the game Wordle. The daily puzzle game with the yellow and green boxes has become part of the morning routine for millions of people around the world. To coin a word too long for the puzzle – it’s become a wordemic.
Some have complained that since The New York Times bought Wordle, the words have become more esoteric, influenced by the long history of the challenging Times crossword puzzles. But the gray lady says, “hold your horses, not so fast” – or whatever they say of that nature in Manhattan. The Times says that they got a list of words with the purchase and they are using inventor Josh Wardle’s words for now rather than anything mined from the crossword division.
Other complaints have come from overseas where the Brits complain that the five-letter words are based on American English rather than the original British English. How are they supposed to solve for honor when their version is more honorable with its well-bred “u” prominently included? They imply Wordle has been downgraded with its reliance on American English. (The horrors.)
Then we’ve had complaints about southernisms, too. The word swill was recently attacked with people asking if that’s even a word. In the south we do still swill beer (and wine as well). The word dodge also raised a few eyebrows as a highly unusual word, but it’s a great old Western word where cowboys use to dodge bullets and mean bulls daily. We still, at least metaphorically, dodge bullets daily – “we dodged a bullet on the postponement of that audit didn’t we, Frank!”
It occurred to me that we could use a Texas Wordle version. We have a lot of fine five letter words here that are perfectly Texcentric. The immediate one that comes to mind is, well, Texas. There you go. Too easy. Then we have steer, dillo, truck and boots.
How about howdy? That’s a good one. Only one vowel so people who use oiuja to find and exclude the vowels right out of the chute (there’s another one, chute) would be a bit stymied. Howdy also has a “y” – a kind of honorary vowel, but not so common in Wordle.
And we could use our slang, too. Ah’ite. All Right. Five letters. Fixin’. Seems incomplete without it’s traveling buddy, “to.” But we do use it without “to” as in “Fixin supper?” And then they respond, “Fixin to.” How about Purty? Great five letter word. Mosey is another.
Then we have Spanish words that are a common part of our Texas lexicon. Tacos. Oralé. Bueno. Patio. Lasso. Now Lasso is particularly good because those repeating letters throw a linguistic wrench into things for many of us.
Beer. Well that’s four letters, but beers will do. We do say that. What flavor beers you got?
Y’all. Another four letters. But for Texas Wordle we could use the possessive. Y’all’s. As in Y’all’s horse. Brung, too, is a good one. Five letters. Informal past tense of bring. I see y’all brung yall’s horse.
Thang. Ain’t no big thang. Worsh. Five letters. Gotta get ta worshin’ the dishes.
Yes, we have plenty of good five letter Texasisms that would make for our own national version of Wordle. But we might need to change the name, too, to something like Wordalin’.
“What you doin’ there, just sittin’ on the porch?”
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Stories From Texas, UTRGV Digital Library, The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. Accessed via https://scholarworks.utrgv.edu/storiesfromtexas/
© 2022 William F. Strong. Uploaded with permission of copyright holder.