The Winner of the Bee!

I couldn’t let the day go by without congratulating the winner of the Scripps Spelling Bee, Arvind Mahankali.

We stayed up late last night (til 10:30!) just to see him win.

Our local girl, Amber Born of Marblehead, came in 4th which is no small feat. She can be very proud of herself.

The words were incredible. For a little while near the end, they were dropping out like flies misspelling their words, but, for the most part, they spelled words I never knew existed in the English language.

I just don’t get why almost all the words they give are foreign-sounding words. I’ve read they are all officially English words now, somehow, but c’mon folks. Basically, you need a brain the size of Rhode Island to be able to keep all that information inside your head! I don’t know how they do it. They must have been queued up in a different section than I was when they were handing out the brains. Mine feels pathetically small when compared to these youngsters. They are amazing.

So congratuations Arvind, and may you have a long and successful life ahead of you.



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12 Responses to The Winner of the Bee!

  1. Bex says:

    Hi Nilky, welcome here.

    I know a lot of medical words since I transcribed doctors who dictated medical reports, so I know most of the pronunciations and the spellings but not necessarily the definitions, however, after doing that job for so many years, I developed a knowledge of the word parts as if I had actually studied them.

    I’ve forgotten some of what I used to know but during the Bee, one of the words was “pathognomonic” and they kepy saying it with the “g” pronounced (they also gave the alternate of without the “g”, too) but from my experience, all the doctors I’ve ever transcribed pronounced it like “path-o-no-mon’-ic” without the g sound. Oh well…different strokes…


  2. nilky says:

    Most English words have been derived from other languages… that’s the cool thing about English, it can change.
    I know the meaning and spelling of many words… but not the pronunciation.
    I think that to win a spelling bee you have to have an edietic memory, what was once called a photographic memory….


  3. TopsyTurvy says:

    Would you believe that the word “hallali” is a FRENCH derivation? I never would have thought that. It started out French, first written in 1762 and then went to Germany where it was called halali.

    It’s actually the sound of a horn, if I remember correctly.


  4. mz. em says:

    I saw the winner on TV this morning. Congrats to him. And to think he is retiring this year.


  5. Rhubarb says:

    I agree with the comments on having a photographic memory. I used to win spelling bees with words that were out of this world, not because I knew what they meant (nor could I pronounce them), but because once I had seen them in print I could recall them in visual memory, just as they appeared on the page.

    I could recall whole pages, with diagrams, in fact. Very inconvenient when I was accused once of cheating on a test…and thereby hangs a tale.


  6. Bonnie says:

    Isn’t that something? Kelly and Michael were talking about it today. I must of been standing behind the same door, I only managed to spell well in elementary school.


  7. Reenie says:

    Like Em, I’m a pretty good speller and I also attribute most of that to the reading I do. But when I was grwoing up, I used a dictionary a lot. Today, while I’m still a pretty good speller, I’m a horrid typist and that’s where the problem lies. In fact, I just reread my comment and have left my misspelling/typo. :))))


  8. Bex says:

    well, I just had an idea… how about a Spelling Bee using “English-sounding words” for all of the rest of us humans who wouldn’t get past home plate in the current Spelling Bee?

    I agree, Harriet, about the money – yes the $30 K is encouraging but when you see a tennis player do 2 weeks of tennis at a tournament, then get a check for over $1 million (and it’s going up fast), it doesn’t seem fair. I just read today that if a tennis player only makes it to the 1st match, at least in the French Open, they get $27,000. For playing one match and then losing it.

    If only the sponsors could be found to beef up the prize money for these kids, and I think the final 10 or 12 should be included in prize money just like in tennis, etc., so they could really get a jump on their lives/careers – I mean where is $30 K going to take them… a year at college maybe?


  9. Eric Mayer says:

    I did notice in that word list you had a link to how many of the words were foreign sounding. Heck, English sounding words are impossible for me to spell.


  10. T.S. says:

    They must be under some kind of magic spell.


  11. Maggie says:

    Bex, some people have photographic memories, just a skill like a singing voice, not a measure of intelligence. Of course, many people with photographic memories are very intelligent. You either have a photographic memory, or you do not. It can be a help, but it can also be a hindrance.


  12. l'empress says:

    English is a language that is infinitely flexible because of all the words borrowed from other languages, and I enjoy that. What I don’t like is transliteration. “Tokonoma,” from Japanese, is easy. But I am very familiar with “knaidel,” from Yiddish, and I don’t spell it that way in English.

    However, I do like the concept of testing them on vocabulary as well. And I am happy they can win more than a nickel, as I did so many years ago, or eve a $25 bond, as my daughter did some 30(?) years ago.


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