Happy Tuesday! I'm here at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., and today was the first day of competition. There was no onstage spelling, only a written spelling and vocabulary test that, combined with the oral spelling words from rounds 2 and 3 tomorrow, determines who will move on to the Finals, which commence on Thursday morning at 10 AM EST.
The spelling portion of this test, in general consensus, was much easier than last year's spelling portion. There were words such as "achromatopsia" and "canaille," but that was about as hard as it got, as opposed to last year's spelling section, which contained long and obscure words like "lachsschinken" and "Nynorsk." The vocabulary section, however, was much, much harder than last year's, with definition questions such as "gaufrette" and "dulcet."
There is one item of controversy on this test--the aforementioned word "dulcet." The question asked which of the options was the best example of something dulcet, and out of the four options, two seemed to be correct. One of the choices was "a cinnamon roll"; the other was "a popular lullaby." However, since one definition of "dulcet" is "sweet to the taste" and another definition of "dulcet" is "pleasing to the ear." Both of these choices fit one definition of the word "dulcet," so no one knows exactly what will be done. Hopefully, Scripps will accept either--that seems to be the only fair way.
The preliminary oral rounds are tomorrow--good luck to all competing spellers!