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This page contains the latest news on the Collins changeover. Older news can be found here.

6th April 2004


Allan Simmons
(on behalf of the ABSP/WESPA Dictionary Committee)

Further to the article in TLW (and on this website), which was representative of the disappointing position with Collins as at the TLW deadline, there has been some welcome liaison from Collins. We urge players to trust that the Dictionary Committee has the players' best interests at heart (this also embraces the World players' interests through the WESPA element). If you haven't already done so, then complete the questionnaire ASAP. The questionnaire response to-date from just 10% of members is as disappointing as the delay and content of the Collins FAQ.

Since the TLW update, we now have every reason to be confident that the extent of unattested root words not expected to appear in a Collins wordlist book will be manageable: ie. unrelated to current USA words, within the number originally cited by Mattel, and of no great upset to players' Scrabble vocabulary. Such words as SYRLYE, EMBREWE, PICCADELL (plus inflexions) are a few examples.

However, there is not time for the DC to assess the thousands of words coming in as new from Collins sources. For that reason, plus the key fact that the initial Collins book (scheduled for the Summer) cannot possible reflect the 2004 USA updates (which are still being worked on in America), we will NOT be recommending it to be adopted. We remain concerned that if there are too many thousands of new words, that itself may be an unacceptable element of the change. At this point we have not yet seen any lists to comment further.

During the course of 2004 we expect to properly assess candidate new words from Collins sources against OSW-base rules, and discuss and agree a viable future update process. When the 2004 book is published we will scrutinise it fully to assess its suitability. We hope that Collins will make copies available for others (e.g. some clubs) to review as well. In 2005 a version of the book with definitions is expected to be published. That will be the earliest opportunity to reflect updates from the USA. So, it will not be until a 2005 AGM, and the publication of a 2005 book with definitions, that a vote and decision can be made.

The ABSP-DC continues to endeavour to ensure Collins produce something that players might be willing to accept. We equally recognise that ultimately it is the members/players that will vote on any new book at an AGM, and so some thought will be given to contingencies should a Collins book be unacceptable.

Given that members are unlikely to have rushed out and bought a Collins Dictionary at this point (indeed, encouraged not to), and given that we received a review copy, it was wholly appropriate to include a short review in TLW and show a few words from the Collins Dictionary to satisfy members curiosity. The words listed (perhaps too subtle for some) also served to demonstrate that the Collins Dictionary already has numerous words from English around the globe which is why it ought not to be necessary to use multiple sources for updates. Although contigual to the FAQ response the review was not intended to be part of the same article. Apologies if anyone felt this review was 'a sin' in that context!

Please respect the fact that is not always practical nor appropriate to provide the latest information outside of TLW when developments are ongoing, and break-throughs in developments unfortunately do not always fit in with TLW deadlines. The publication of the FAQ from Collins was bad timing in this respect.

We will issue a further update in the next TLW and again at the AGM.


Allan Simmons
(on behalf of the ABSP/WESPA Dictionary Committee)