The keys to the success of Paraulògic, the linguistic game that has become a viral phenomenon in Catalonia

  • Rodamots adapts a New York Times hobby into Catalan that consists of forming dozens of words with only seven letters

  • Its use has become popular in recent weeks among the Catalan-speaking digital community and has reached 137,000 players

Combine seven letters to make dozens of words. Is that how it works Parallogical, a new linguistic game that based on something as simple as composing anagrams in Catalan has managed to become a phenomenon among the Catalan-speaking community of Internet.

This pastime is a Catalan adaptation of ‘Spelling Bee‘, a digital game popularized by the New York Times. Jordi Palou, promoter and manager of the non-profit portal RodaMots, became so hooked on this linguistic puzzle, free to access, that he decided to launch a Catalan version at the beginning of November. Every day, the user has seven different letters and up to more than a hundred possible combinations that he must solve.

In Google Trends We can see how interest in this game began to grow on December 13 and completely shot up on the 23rd. At the beginning of the month it had 16,000 daily players, but last Thursday it appeared on TV3’s Telenotícies and registered more than 50,000 players, temporarily paralyzing your server. “We have had to update the web to accommodate more and more people & rdquor ;, he explains Pere Orga, developer of Paraulògic and one of the programmers of Softcatalà.

However, the arrival of the Christmas holidays has only increased interest in participating in the game that everyone talks about. On Christmas Day the number of players shot up to 120,000 and in Sant Esteve it reached its peak to date, 137,000 players.

These are the keys to your success:

For promoting the language

The use of Catalan is experiencing a clear backward situation among young people affected by a digital model that penalizes it. Only 20% of students almost always use that language in group activities, while in 2006 that figure reached almost 70%, according to a study by the Consell Superior d’Avaluació de Catalunya.

Paraulògic does not aim to save Catalan, but to use it in a normalized way in a game that does stimulate interest in the tongue. The rapid impact it has had guarantees that what already worked in the United States with ‘Spelling Bee’ can also be done in Catalonia, but also in the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, where the phenomenon is also reaching.

“It is a way of normalizing the language among the youngest and learning new words & rdquor ;, explains Míriam Martín Lloret, linguist at Optimot, service of the Language Policy Secretariat of the Government of Catalonia. “I know that there are Catalan teachers who already recommend it to their students & rdquor ;. This expert also points out that the game, which only accepts the words listed in the Dictionary of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (DIEC) may be an opportunity to check the dictionary and reverse your “lack of colloquialism”.

For being pure knowledge

In recent years, the world of social networks and video games has seen an increase in the role of monetization and competitiveness, two incentives linked to which it is intended to engage users more. Whoever has the most impact can earn more money. We have already seen how this logic can have a perverse effect on mental health. In Paraulògic the knowledge it is the purpose, not a means to obtain a reward, whether in the form of money or social attention / approval.

Although this option must be activated, the game allows the user to know what their score is, which can become a personal challenge to learn more, a healthier competitiveness than competing with someone.

By its design

Another reason for the success of Paraulògic can be in its simplicity. To play you only need to have a device with Internet access and enter your website. The game is simple, intuitive and also, unlike current platforms and networks, it does not use your data or use algorithms to personalize your experience. “As easy as trying & rdquor; letter combinations,” says Orga. Paraulògic is like going back to the Internet from two decades ago. In the best of the senses.

By digital word of mouth

The game has found a great ally in social networks to boost its popularity. And it is only necessary a quick search on Twitter to find hundreds of users from the Catalan-speaking community to share their concern about the words not found or show the achievement of having completed the game. The Institut Català de la Salut has gone to the game to give advice on how to face the regrowth of contagions of the variant omicron of covid-19.

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However, the difficulty of forming a multitude of words with those few letters means that there are those who turn to the networks to find solutions. It has even been created Spoilogic, an account that automatically tweets solutions every 20 minutes and locates messages that mention the game to send them those responses. “It’s just a joke for those who can’t find more words & rdquor ;, points out Àngel Fernández, its creator.

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