Spelling bee youngsters face new test: What’s the word mean?

Spellers participate in the preliminary round of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Credit: Reuters
Spellers participate in the preliminary round of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Credit: Reuters

Young contestants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee will face off Wednesday with the new challenge of not only having to spell obscure words correctly, but also knowing what they mean.

A total of 281 spellers, aged 8 to 14 and hailing from all 50 U.S. states, will step onto the stage over the next two days to be quizzed on their knowledge of obscure English vocabulary.

Prior winners have triumphed with xanthosis, a rare skin disease; euonym, a name that seems appropriate to its subject, and logorrhea, a disorder whose sufferers are verbose but incomprehensible.

Contestants also come from the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Defense Department schools around the world, with some contestants coming from the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

For the first time since it began in 1927, the contest is requiring young spellers in preliminary and semifinal rounds to take a vocabulary test. Organizers say it is part of the Bee’s commitment to deepening contestants’ command of English.

Since 2002, a written or computer spelling test has been a component that, along with onstage spelling, factored in determining which spellers advanced to the semifinals.

This year, competitors will advance to the semifinals and finals based on their onstage spelling, as well as computer-based spelling and vocabulary questions. Vocabulary evaluation will count for half of a speller’s overall score.

The Bee is taking place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., outside Washington.

The spelling preliminaries on Wednesday follow a computer-based test on Tuesday. The semifinals and finals take place Thursday, with the competition to be broadcast by ESPN.

The contestants range from third to eighth graders, with 116 speaking more than one language. The group is 52 percent girls and 48 percent boys, Scripps said on its website, and among this year’s field, math is most often cited as a favorite subject.

Two spellers have siblings who won the national title. Vanya Shivashankar, 11, of Olathe, Kansas, last year’s 10th-place finisher, is following her sister Kavya, who won in 2009.

Ashwin Veeramani, 13, of Cleveland, hopes to follow in the footsteps of his sister Anamika, the 2010 champion.

Last year’s winner was Snigdha Nandipati, a San Diego eighth-grader. Since 1999, 10 of the 14 winners have been Americans of Indian descent, including the last five.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Woman's body found floating in East River in…

A woman's body was found Tuesday morning floating in the East River near Clason Point in the Bronx. The NYPD responded to the scene shortly…

International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…