Friday, June 1, 2012

Conpet* (for Compet*)

A picture spells a thousand words. Or something like that, anyway. In any event, these pictures of the current crop of Scripps Howard contestants say more than any words (correctly spelled or not) could ever do. This year's stellar young spellers register virtually every emotion known to man, but the tiny competitor shown here (the youngest one ever at just six years old) looks happier with her feet in the cool waters of a Virginia spring than she did in the hot water of the spelling bee maelstrom, where she had to reach way up to lower the mic. As is often the way, the gods of spelling bee irony came into play for little Lori Anne, who missed the word ingluvies, which means the "crop" (i.e., esophagus) of a bird or insect: her latest obsession is slugs, snails, watery bugs, and worms. (Although she still says her favorite word is Sprachgefühl, or "love of words.") The 2012 champion, Snigdha Nandipati, deftly avoided a guetapens (ambush or trap) to emerge victorious, and reports that as a child her favorite word to spell was design, because of the "silent g." Snigdha is yet another Indian-American to carry home the honor (this marks the fifth year in a row for that particular demographic), but the assemblage of fidgety philologists comprised a wide array of race, ethnicity, and country of origin. Word to the wise: a little child shall lead them. We were led to four instances of Conpet* (for compet*) in OhioLINK, and 94 in WorldCat.

(Lori Anne Madison at the "boring!" spelling bee.)

Carol Reid

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