2017-03-02 / Life in Leelanau

Where do the words come from?

Many students had a tough time advancing to the second round of the Leelanau County spelling bee, when the difficulty of the words seemed to lessen.

While not something controlled by the Enterprise, we can understand the angst some parents must have felt after watching their children become eliminated on words that few people have heard and fewer people use.

All words used in the Leelanau County Spelling Bee came from a “2017 Pronouncer Guide” provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee organization. The words used in the Pronouncer Guide are kept secret until the county bee is held. We use them in the order they are printed.

The E.W. Scripps Company owns several daily newspapers and other news media across the U.S. and sponsors the National Spelling Bee. It’s the 90th year of the National Spelling Bee.

In addition to containing rules for local spelling bees, the Pronouncer Guide contains a list of 400 words to be used in local bees. For each word, Scripps provides a definition, diacritical marks for pronunciation, the language of origin, the part of speech, use of the word in a sentence, and other clues students are encouraged to ask about before trying to spell the word.

Prior to the bee, Scripps also makes available a “study list” of words that teachers may provide to students before school-level bees and the local county bee. The study list does not contain the same words that are in the Pronouncer Guide, but has words that are of similar levels of difficulty.

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