Sunday, 8 June 2014

Revised acceptable word policy

It's hardly news that the official rules do not interact with the Macquarie's vagaries as well as one would hope, leading to many words being rejected that "should" be accepted.  In the past I've noted such instances as invalid (and generally complained about it).  The time has come, I feel, to adopt a slightly different set of rules for acceptable words.  This breaks compatibility with the show, of course, but by now that's hardly a drawback.

The revisions are as follows:
  • Derived forms of variant spellings are allowed when the corresponding derived forms are listed for the main spellings.  Thus the listing of MOULDIER and MOLD as a variant of MOULD means that MOLDIER is valid under this modification.  Similarly for AMBRIES and AUMBRY making AUMBRIES valid.
  • Nouns ending in -y do not require the plural form to be explicitly listed if this form is made by replacing the -y by -ies.  So LORRIES is valid even though no plural form of LORRY is listed.  (I am avoiding being explicit about which words are assumed to have a plural of that form, but loosely speaking it will be nouns where a consonant preceeds that final Y).
  • Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y or -ey do not require comparative or superlative forms to be explicitly listed if those forms are made by replacing the -y or -ey by -ier or -iest as appropriate.  So (to cite a recent example) the forms BLOCKIEST and BLOKIEST are now valid, even though not listed, since BLOCKY and BLOKEY are listed.  Again, I am avoiding explicit mention of the requirements, going for a "I'll know it when I see it" approach.
  • Words, and derived forms of them, that only appear in phrases will be considered valid unless they are otherwise invalid.  This makes EARSHOT (only listed as part of phrases) valid, and also the verb senses of MINOR and MAJOR (and thus MINORED and MAJORING are valid, for instance).  Words that are part of compound nouns (the BOK of BOK CHOY, for instance) remain invalid (unless they have a standalone meaning, of course).
I think that covers the majority of the particularly bad cases that we've experienced.  I'll probably still end up noting cases where such answers would not be valid on the show for a while by marking them with a *.  In the meantime, it should make things a bit better.


Mike Backhouse said...

It should make things a little easier. Thanks Geoff.

Geoff Bailey said...

I forgot the modification for phrase terms, which never really made much sense -- it excluded too much other useful stuff while trying to rule out compound nouns. Post modified to include this adjustment.