Ode to Schwa

Seriously, how many schwas are even in this word.

Spellers almost unanimously condemn the schwa as one of the most torturous sounds that one could ever receive. It is almost always met with sounds of despair and frustration. Some people going as far to assign epithets such as “Speller-slayer” or “The Ultimate Bane” as if it was a sword in the style of Tolkien or Martin. However, I feel that it almost could be described as an epitome of what allows spelling bees in English to exist. It’s the versatility of the schwa that also is reflected in the English language. If every single word in the English language followed a set of standard conventions then there would almost be no purpose at all at spelling words. It is the weird, wacky, wobbly sense of coherence that holds a Germanic language with a primarily Romance language vocabulary together. Its versatility is how lachsschinken and recercellee exist in the same language despite looking and sounding like a complete antithesis to each other. One hard, guttural consonants and the other soft sounds directed by its vowels.

So as an open letter to the schwa, I appreciate how you allow different words and sounds to be joined together to form even more amazing words. The sheer number of Latin and Greek words that use you as a sort of glue is testament to how much you are overlooked. After all, it’s biology, not bilogy.

Round 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Soo, once again, the spellers onstage wowed us all. Their unrelenting determination and composure helped 16 of the finalists to continue on to the primetime finals. This is a record number of finalist as the cutoff is generally for 12 or less spellers.

Shruthika Padhy
Sravanth Malla
Jashun Paluru
Navneeth Murali
Erin Howard
Naysa Modi
Abhijay Kodali
Tara Singh
Anisha Rao
Karthik Nemmani
Aisha Randhawa
Rohan Raja
Paul Hamrick
Enya Hubers
Phoebe Smith
Simone Kaplan

The words in the Morning Finals primarily consisted of a bunch of Root, Geological, and Mythological words. Oh, and the oodles of mollusk words.

Can’t wait for the finals to start!

Round 3 and Declaration of Finalists

Well, that was a maelstrom. Here are all of the spellers that are continuing on the finals tomorrow morning. Some of them are familiar names and others are new names, but all of them definitely deserve to be in the finals.

Spellers

If I could summarize the Round 3 in one sentence it would be:

Dr. Bailly restarting the yanny/laurel debate, geography, portmanteaux, mythology, and phrases.

The sentences, as usual, were hilarious. There really were a lot of portmanteau words which essentially are just two or more words meshed together. For example Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) or celtuce (celery +lettuce). I personally think that celery is better than lettuce though. There were a couple phrases thrown in from the written test to the oral rounds. Mythology words appeared a tad bit in between.

However, there were slight disparities in words difficulty throughout the rounds and I personally felt that the words got harder and trickier as successive groups spelled.

Good luck to all of the spellers tomorrow!

Preliminaries

Here are the words from the preliminaries round of Scripps. The words and vocabulary were more difficult than past years so the cutoff score may be lower than past years. However, given the number of students, it is highly likely that the cutoff will lead to a lot of tiebreaking so there may be less spellers in the morning finals. I’m personally predicting a cutoff of around 28.

Round 1 Spelling

  1. barrenness
  2. pestilential
  3. remittent
  4. pataphysics
  5. troglodyte
  6. flagellate
  7. orpiment
  8. theremin
  9. epipodiale
  10. pteridophyte
  11. bocconcini
  12. eumolpique

Round 1 Vocab

  1. insuperable- not able to surpass
  2. chockablock- crowded, filled
  3. explicit- clear explicit expression
  4. timocracy- wealth, honor, glory are the way to rule
  5. dittography- repeated letters in a word
  6. mano a mano- it literally mean hand- to hand
  7. anfractuous- going around in circles
  8. festucine- straw yellow (color)
  9. lalopathy- speech disorder
  10. apercu- brief reference
  11. ironical- peaceful
  12. reticulate- resembling a net (reticularii were gladiators that fought with nets)

Round 2 Vocab

  1. comptroller- financial officer

Round 3 Vocab

  1. timorous- nervousness. fear

 

Scripps 2018 pt. 1

Soooo, Bee Week is right around the corner with it officially starting this Sunday. The bee is pretty packed with a grand total of only 519 spellers. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going to happen and when.

 

Registration

This is on the 27th where you get to meet a bunch of spellers and you get a lot of cool goodies. The best part is getting a Bee-keeper and managing to not lose it by forgetting to trade back the bee-keeper. I once had to trace back like 10 people to figure where mine had went. I managed to get quite a substantial amount of signatures by the end of Bee Week. Maybe you might be able to get all of them 🙂

Barbecue + Opening Ceremony

The food, I have to say is amazing, but the best part is meeting new people, so, get to know some people. Try finding the mascots with the huge heads at the ballpark. There are tons of activities like face painting and spinning art. A common theme is getting a bee on your face with your speller number. The opening ceremony is very cool since you get to hear about how the spelling bee changed and evolved throughout its time as a spelling bee.

Preliminaries

Okay, so a lot of people may be nervous for this and a bit groggy since it is a bit early in the morning, but its completely fine! You all have probably studied really hard for this and you will be alright. Everything’s going to bee alright. My advice is to drink a lot of water and make sure to use the restroom before the test begins. You want to be as normal feeling as possible. I always make sure to eat waffles right before a competiton because that’s what makes me feel good.

Round 2&3

These are the first onstage rounds, so nerves can get a bit high. Make to ask for water if you need any and have a good meal right before. This year, it has been divided in 3 sections so that the spellers don’t have to wait too long. Sometimes, you can get a bit antsy onstage so try to burn that off right before. These are the onstage elimination rounds so if you miss one word you’re out. 😦

 

 

Weird Wednesday Pt.1- Narragansett

Sooo this is basically just going to be a bunch of weird languages in general. The only real criteria is that is has to be from a random place and has to have less than 50 entries in the dictionary. Sometimes, the language might have a bit more words but, anyways, I’m rambling a bit.

Narraganset

There’s literally only 5 entries and 1 of them is the name of the language itself, so I guess it should technically be 4. Narragansett is a member of the Algonquian family branch and is spoken, quite obviously, by the Narragansett people.

Words

coween- basically a duck “quack quack”

seapoose- shallow inlet/tidal stream

squash- the FRUIT, though it’s used as a vegetable in cooking

squaw- figure target representing kneeling

French Food

There are over 17000 French entries in the entire dictionary, however food words form a large portion of these words are related to food. Perhaps the most famous words are indeed French words.

bouillon (\ˈbü(l)-ˌyän, ˈb(l)-;ˈbl-yən; ˈbü-ˌyōⁿ\)- A bouillon is a broth made by slow boiling meat in a soup. This word is relation to the English word “boil” as is evident in the spelling.

Neufchatel (\¦n(y)üshə¦tel, ¦nə(r)sh-, ¦nə̄sh-\) – Neufchatel comes from a region in France where this specific cheese was  created.

bourguignonne- Bourguignonne is an adjective meaning “made in the style of Burgundy.”

abaisse (\ə-ˈbās\)- An abaisse is the lower crust of a pastry. Abaisse is also related to the word ‘abase’ since it means to lower something.

Aligote (\älēgōˈtā\ )- An Aligote is a kind of white wine also from Burgundy.

 

School Words

Hello Everybody! I haven’t been quite that active for a while mostly due the reason mentioned above :). So to get into the spirit of school reopening for everyone around the USA, here are some school-related words.

lycee- A lycee is a state maintained secondary school especially in France. This word does come from the Lyceum. Interestingly, the original lyceum was taught by Aristotle.

turnhalle- This word comes from German and means a school for gymnastics. Quite literally it means a hall for turning (gymastics).

archididascalos- Archididascalos is flaunting its Greek heritage with many traditionally Greek letter combinations present. “Archi”, a root meaning the highest, shows up in the word’s definition of “the chief teacher.”

calmecac- Going almost halfway around the world from the previous word, calmecac comes from Nahuatl and is a school for the sons of Aztec nobles preparing them to be chiefs and priests.

manege- A manege is a school for teaching horsemanship and comes from French.

 

Solar Eclipse Words

August 21st marked the date of the Great American Solar Eclipse. The eclipse passed through a line from Wyoming to North Carolina. In Florida, there was 85% percent totality.

Solarium- a solarium is a sundial

Gegenschein- gegenschein is the corona that can be seen around a moon during  a solar eclipse.

Aigrette- a plume or tuft, esp. resembling a sun’s corona

Actinometer- An actinometer measures the Sun’s rays

 

NASCC 2017

Today was the NASCC spelling in Riverside, California. Students from China and the US came together to spell words. The nighttime finals went on for 18 rounds with words like sassolin (a mineral), ephelis (freckles), and kantele (Finnish harp).

After 6 rounds of going back and forth, Shourav Dasari spelled “anisakiasis” to become the champion of the NASCC spelling bee. Anisakiasis, a parasitic infection, comes from a couple Greek roots. “Anis-” means unequal and akis, a Greek ending used as and ending for numerical adverbs. “-iasis” is suffix used to signify a medical condition or disease.

Once again, I congratulate all of the spellers who participated in the finals:

Shourav Dasari

Rutvik Gandhasri

Rishik Gandhasri

Zoe Keith

Alex Iyer

Cameron Keith

Rohan Rajeev

Shruthika Padhy

Marlene Schaff

Yo-Yo

Johnny