Do You Think the New Vocabulary Component of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Which Asks Kids for Definitions of Some of the Those Tough Words, Is a Good Addition?

ABC News U.S. 2013/04/10 10:00:00
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Sure, the whiz kids who make it to the National Spelling Bee each year can spell obscure words, but do they know what they mean? A vocabulary component has been added to the mix this year, which could end up stinging some stellar spellers.

“Spelling and vocabulary are, in essence, two sides of the same coin,” Paige Kimble, director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, said in a statement. “As a child studies the spelling of a word and its etymology, he will discover its meaning. As a child learns the meaning of a word, it becomes easier to spell. And all this enhances the child’s knowledge of the English language,” she said.

A computer-based vocabulary test will now be given in addition to the computer-based spelling test, and will count for half of a speller’s score cumulative score that determines who advances to the semifinal and championship rounds.

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  • readmylips 2013/04/15 16:09:04
    Lets have a vocabulary bee if that is what is happening. Spelling is connected to entomology. A good speller is aware of the origin of words.
  • whipnet 2013/04/15 15:57:15
    There's the game show Jeopardy for that.

  • Lerro DeHazel 2013/04/15 15:10:43
    Lerro DeHazel
    No, it's a Spelling Bee for India's Children to win . . . Just leave it alone . . . The main problem right now with the World is "Rule Changes" . . .
  • Art 2013/04/15 14:17:41
    The kids are spelling words. Why complicate the contest?
  • ~TheDreamer~ 2013/04/15 03:41:53
    It's called a spelling bee. Not a word quiz bowl or whatever.
  • dekecds 2013/04/14 23:49:14
    No, and here is why: Currently, with english being the most adaptive language, a speller may ask that the word be used in a sentence so as not to confuse it with other words that have become common in our language. The lines really have blurred quite a bit between English root words and common English these days. I haven't seen the official list of English words that are allowed, but I do know that when a spelling bee tests spellers over foreign words such as Negahs, Negas, and Negaz, and Nigas, there needs to be clarification. (Those are all acceptable spellings of four very similar African tribe leader titles, and are somehow part of national English spelling bees, as might be seen on two occasions in 2010)
  • Mike 2013/04/14 22:11:41
    I think it's a great idea, particularly given the fact that most of the words used in these spelling bees tend to be extremely obscure!
  • Jere 2013/04/14 20:42:28
    It lets the judges know who is TRULY LITERATE !
  • zsa zsa 50 2013/04/14 16:12:37
    zsa zsa 50
    spelling bee, not vocabulary bee.
  • Jere zsa zsa 50 2013/04/14 20:58:18
    Should be both.
  • SIMPATTYCO 2013/04/13 19:11:48
    I t might level the playing field There are savants whose gift is only to instant memorization of words/texts ..know the meaning of what you simply have a photographic memory to divine is a bigger challenge of real intellect..
  • irish 2013/04/13 18:43:18
    spelling and vocabulary are different.
  • Iefan Muineachán 2013/04/13 11:48:42
    Iefan Muineachán
    Especially now that 'lol', which only truly means 'laughter' in Dutch, is one of the most commonly-used 'words'.
  • sally 2013/04/13 01:25:27
    With the vocabulary addition, wouldn't that make it into a Vocabulary bee?
  • PattyM 2013/04/12 20:04:27
    Its surprising to see how many people answered "no". Isn't the idea behind spelling bees to demonstrate knowledge of the english language?

    Without the definition of a word its just ink on a page or sound in the air.
  • Dickens 2013/04/12 16:02:50
    ...it's a spelling bee, not a vocabulary test...and does this mean that there won't be any more "..please use the word in a sentence.." requests? When I was a kid, that was an often-asked (and legitimate) question...
  • captainquiggle 2013/04/12 13:47:29
    This will make for a shorter contest, that's for certain.
  • tytyvyllus 2013/04/12 12:59:24
    why would one not want to know the definition of words they use even in a spelling bee? my daughter is a gifted speller and when we practiced I always had her look up the meanings of words. in spelling bees they use the words in a sentence yet if one doesn't know the meaning of the word using it in a sentence is of little help. great idea.
  • AM 2013/04/12 12:48:37
  • disclaimer 2013/04/12 07:30:48
    If it were about definitions and not spelling, it would be labelled as such.
  • elizabeth thompson 2013/04/11 21:58:18
    elizabeth thompson
  • Ada Whitmire 2013/04/11 20:56:19
    Ada Whitmire
    It's already hard enough besides good spellers already know the meanings and it's origin
  • ll 2013/04/11 20:38:52
    I don't know
    I thought they already did that!
  • Aly † "In God We Trust" † 2013/04/11 20:31:51
    Aly † "In God We Trust" †
    It's a spelling bee..I say stick with spelling.
  • lkreu 2013/04/11 19:03:03
    Not that it would help me. LOL - I work with the mother of the girl that won last year. She is also very good in math.
  • ChrisWingard 2013/04/11 18:36:33
  • MeiLin 2013/04/11 17:38:14 (edited)

    Yes. Lol
    language and vocabulary are about much more than mere spelling accuracy
  • elizabe... MeiLin 2013/04/11 21:59:24
  • mind-pilot 2013/04/11 17:24:38
    Why not. Most of these kids do know the definition of 95% of the words they are spelling.
    At least they can spell. Unlike 99% of their age group.LOL
    Have you seen the spelling lately by today's junior and high school students? Even the college students have difficulties one would not suspect from modern college students.
  • Tea in the Harbor 2013/04/11 16:41:32
    Tea in the Harbor
    If you don't know how to use a word in context, a mistake I see here all the time, you shouldn't be getting credit for knowing that word.

    Using the word in context has been a part of spelling bees at least since I was a kid in the 60s, , and always should be, why did that ever stop?
  • Catita 2013/04/11 16:34:14 (edited)
    in my opinion, it is a good idea.
  • BigFig#9 2013/04/11 16:24:25
    I'd hate to think we were creating a world of Norm Crosbys....
  • Koatz 2013/04/11 16:14:17
    I am surprised that the kids don't know the definition of the words they spell. Seems weird; "I know how to spell it, but I have no idea what it means."
  • actionjksn 2013/04/11 16:09:20
  • Jere actionjksn 2013/04/14 21:01:30
    Your the dumb one
  • Tastentier 2013/04/11 15:49:39 (edited)
    Try and view this from the social awkwardness / stage fright angle. Being able to spell in front of an audience doesn't necessarily mean that you're also able to speak freely in front of a crowd. Many of the kids who participate in spelling bees are a bit shy and awkward, if not to say nerdy and sometimes slightly autistic, and might have problems explaining things in a very public setting even though they know perfectly well what the words mean.
  • AdWhois 2013/04/11 15:24:42
    Oh wow, this is so much better. What is the point of knowing how to spell words you have no idea what they mean.
  • BuggaBoo 2013/04/11 15:19:27
    bad idea. just because they can spell those words, doesn't mean they know the definition.
    why do u think they ASK for the definition and origin?
  • MikeWon 2013/04/11 14:22:05
  • Jere MikeWon 2013/04/14 21:03:07
    If you can't hack it stay out.

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