Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee

A year ago, we told you about the results of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, a thrilling yearly "sports" event featuring the top young spellers of the United States that is broadcast live on ESPN, an American sports channel. Last year, the winner was a 13 year-old boy named Arvind Mahankali who took home the trophy by spelling the word knaidel, a Yiddish term meaning "dumpling".

US president Barack Obama meeting Kavya
Shivashankar, the winner of 2009 competition.
This year, the competition was much more intense. In fact, it was so intense that the competition ended with two winners for the first time since 1962. Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe were declared co-winners at the end of the competition after having both made a mistake in the same earlier round, missing the words antigropelos and corpsbruder. However, the boys eventually made it through all the rest of the words on the official word list without making any more mistakes. 

Sriram won by correctly spelling stichomythia, which means "dialogue especially of altercation or dispute delivered in alternating lines (as in classical Greek drama)", while Ansun correctly spelled feuilleton, meaning "part of a European newspaper of magazine devoted to material disguised to entertain the general reader, or a feature section". 

Both of the boys had been competitors in the big event in years past. They also each diplomatically stated after their joint win that they were pleased to share the trophy, though we imagine they may have secretly preferred to have all the glory to themselves. 

In any case, sharing the title isn't so bad: they still both get the full set of winner's prizes, which this year included $30,000 cash, a U.S. savings bond worth $2,500, a complete reference library from Merriam-Webster, and $1,200 worth of reference works from Encyclopædia Brittanica! Not bad indeed.