How Well Can You Spell?

With the Scripps National Spelling Bee underway in Washington, D.C., the local paper has posted a five-word challenge hosted by 2006 champ Kerry Close. You can click on buttons to hear definition, language of origin, tips from current contestants, and guesses ventured by passers-by in the USA’s capital city.

I got five out of five on the first try. And somewhere in my childhood home is the pen I received from the now-defunct Cleveland Press for winning my school’s bee as a fifth-grader.

5/5 correct on my first try, although I had to get her to define the second one before it stopped sounding like an element. :slight_smile:

And Cheatham County was too damned cheap to give out awards for spelling bee champs, even in the seventh grade. Bastards!

5 by 5, B.

Those words are all pretty easy, but three of them are very “foreign” borrowings. If you know Spanish and French, it’s not really a challenge.

I admire good spellers, but I think spelling bees are pointless, though they are slightly entertaining. Spelling a word is not nearly as important as using it in a meaningful and effective way (especially if it’s a word you’d otherwise never utter or write). That’s what editors are for. Proof-reading, on the other hand, is fairly mechanical.

And then there are always dictionaries.

Dang, I was off by a letter on the 5th word.

5 out of 5, but surely the fourth word ought to have a diacritical mark in it (which I didn’t include).

Got 'em all. Only because I was typing, though. I’m a visual speller and can tell if what I’ve written doesn’t look right. If you ask me to spell it aloud, spelling-bee style, I don’t stand a chance. You’ll see me air-writing the word in desperation.

I participated in my school spelling bee once. I was given “journalism.” I know exactly how it’s written and could even picture the word in my head, but at that time in my life I had difficulty with confusing the sounds for J and G. As a result, although I knew the word, the very first letter out of my mouth was G. I corrected my mistake instantly, but of course that’s not good enough. Sigh. I’m positive I could have won the contest were it not for that one slip.

As for this one, I got 4 out of 5. I didn’t know the last word, but I figure I did pretty well considering I was one letter off.

That was fun, but I’m surprised at how easy the words are. I’d have expected something more challenging.

1 out of 5…

Where is the Mathlete challenge?
Did I spell Mathlete right?

Yeah, “jalapeno” is a correct spelling of the pepper the way “ano” is a correct spelling of the unit of time…

(ETA: I guess there’s a spoiler in there, so I’ve hidden it from view, though, really, if you’re this far down in the thread, you’ve probably already attempted the thing or don’t care to)


But I sort of guessed on the fifth one. I’m really not a great speller.

Why did the girl say “phosphorus” for “phosphoresce” and “jalapena” for “jalapeno”? I could not understand what the hell she was saying.

5 out of 5

Most of the time, I’m thrown by words I’ve never heard of. Not only have I heard all of these, but four of them are words I use on a regular basis.

I was kind of thrown by word #4 because I wasn’t sure how to type a certain letter it uses that isn’t in the English language and doesn’t appear on my American keyboard, but it accepted the English equivalent.

When removing the ñ in jalapeño to translate to English, why doesn’t it become jalapenyo, like cañon becomes canyon?

5/5 here, but I also won the spelling bee in elementary school :cool:

But then I lost in the second round in the county bee. :o


Which surprised me. I’m the schlub who misspelled the name of Michael Romanov in a report on him. Every time I mentioned his name, I flubbed it. (It was the same misspelling each time, but…) This might not have been so bad, but -

My given name is Michael. :eek:


I thought she said “phosphoresce” quite clearly, although she did kind of swallow the last syllable of “jalapeno.” Maybe there are regional accent differences involved?

I couldn’t hear the last word at all. Being unfamiliar with it to begin with, I had no chance. I ended up throwing a “aasfdasdf” into the entry form just so I could find out what she was saying.

E-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-e. Enunciate.

I missed the last one by one letter. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it written down!