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Immortal glory for Irish Scrabble champion

By Nick Clark

A trainee physics teacher from th Republic of Ireland has scooped the UK’s top accolade in Scrabble with the word ‘immortal’ helping clinch victory in the final.

This year's British Matchplay Scrabble Championships were played out over the three days of the bank holiday weekend, with Kevin McMahon emerging victorious from 120 players following a gruelling 21 rounds.

The competition is the flagship event of the Association of British Scrabble Players. After collecting the trophy and the £1,000 prize money at the Yarnfield Park Conference Centre in Staffordshire, Mr McMahon, from Dublin, said: “I'm really happy; it feels brilliant.”

He said that while it was “looking good in the final” a score of 158 with the word immortal “sealed the deal”.

While Mr McMahon was unable to use his favourite word, ‘brouhaha’, in the final, his win coincides with new research into what makes words beautiful.

Linguistic experts increasingly believe there may be a science behind what makes words sound beautiful; there is even a name for their study — phonaesthetics.

Robert Beard, a poet and linguist who wrote The 100 Most Beautiful Words In English, said: “There is some science to it. We all agree that words with rounded vowels as well as the ‘liquid consonants' (‘l’ and ‘r’) are often found in beautiful words.”

He added that old-fashioned words had a “special kind of beauty” pointing to examples including “wherewithal” and “erstwhile”.

Belfast Telegraph

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