Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Round 1

Round 1 of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee commenced today with the Preliminaries Written Test. The test contained 12 spelling words worth one point each and 12 vocabulary words also worth one point each. There were an additional two vocabulary words worth 3 points each – one of these words came from a study list provided by the Bee while the other one came from the dictionary. The total number of points that can be accrued in Round 1 is 30. As soon the written test becomes available, I will be sure to post it so you can test your spelling and vocabulary knowledge!

The onstage rounds start tomorrow morning; each of the words in Round 2 and Round 3 is worth 3 points each. If a speller misses onstage, he/she is eliminated from the competition. Up to fifty spellers with the most number of points after Round 3 move on to the Finals which are on Thursday. Finalists will be announced after Round 3 tomorrow evening.

Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Nationals Park and Opening Ceremony

Today spellers and their families were treated to a Memorial Day barbecue at Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals baseball team and it was quite a thrilling experience! We enjoyed face painting, batting cages, crafts, and inflatables and got a chance to interact with many other families. The Nationals team mascots, “Screech,” “George,” and “Abe” were also there and many spellers did not miss the opportunity to take some “spellfies” with them. This was also a great opportunity to meet other spellers and collect more autographs in my Bee Keeper.

At the Opening Ceremony this evening, we were introduced to Scripps Spelling Bee staff, volunteers, and Bee officials including the pronouncer, Dr. Jacques Bailly, and the head judge, Mrs. Mary Brooks. Tomorrow is the first official day of competition; it begins in the morning with the preliminary written exam (Round 1). On Wednesday, Round 2 and Round 3 will take place on stage.

Good luck to all the spellers competing in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee!

Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee – The Journey Begins

The spellers competing in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee have all arrived in Washington D.C.!

Bee Week officially kicked off today with a Spellebrity Welcome in which spellers received their “swag bags” and a special gift from Kindle, the presenting sponsor of the Bee.  This was my first opportunity to meet the other spellers and it was so much fun! I saw many familiar faces and many more new faces. Of course, the most exciting part of the event was when I received my Bee Keeper, a picture book with interesting facts about each of the spellers. Each year I vow to collect every speller’s autograph in my Bee Keeper and each year, I fail miserably. However, this year, I am determined to meet all the spellers and get their autographs in my Bee Keeper.

Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee

I am excited to announce that I will be writing another Insider’s Guide to the Scripps National Spelling Bee! In March, I won the regional bee sponsored by the Louisville Spelling Bee Collaborative to qualify for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  I am looking forward to returning to Washington D.C. for the fourth time to compete at the national level.

For the last two years, I have written a series of posts detailing Bee Week and my personal experience and I would love to do the same this year. I hope you all enjoy reading my Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This year, there will be 291 spellers from across the United States and abroad competing at the National Spelling Bee; I am speller #207.

If you would like to read about past National Spelling Bees, search Insider’s Guide on this blog.

Terms of Venery (ve-nə-rē)

Hello everyone! This is an unusual post as it is not about the exploration of one word but of a group of terms that many of us use everyday. Collective nouns are words that are used to describe a collection of people, animals, or things. You are likely familiar with collective nouns such as a “herd” of horses or a “pride” of lions, but there are some collective nouns that are uncommon and rarely used. Terms such as “murmuration of starlings” and “chattering of choughs” are quite possibly the most poetic and colorful aspects of the English language, in my opinion.

Many collective nouns that we use today can be traced back to The Book of St. Albans printed  in 1486. This book covered matters related to gentlemanly pursuits namely hawking, hunting, and heraldry; it also included a large list of collective nouns for animals. This book became very popular and was re-printed many times throughout the sixteenth century for it was essential and necessary for a medieval gentleman to know the appropriate terms for animals to indicate that he was well educated and adept at hunting.

Terms of venery are essentially collective nouns. The word venery comes from the Latin word venari, which means to hunt so terms of venery refer to hunting or animals that are hunted. Many of the terms in The Book of St. Albans refer to game animals, however, the book also included terms related to life and people.

Browse the pictures in the gallery for terms of venery included in The Book of St. Albans that are still in use today, albeit rarely.

-tara (tarə)

Hello everyone! As I study for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, there are certain words that naturally catch my attention. I am particularly intrigued by words that contain my name. I didn’t realize that tara could be found in so many words originating from different languages.

Tarantism (tarənˌtizəm) is an uncontrollable urge to dance, and tarantella (tarənˈtelə) is an Italian folk dance. Both these words are named after Taranto, a city in Italy.  A taradiddle (tarəˈdidəl) is a small fib. No one knows where this word originates from, but it was first used around 1796.

One of my favorite words is taramosalata (tärəˌmōsəˈlä-tə). This is a Greek fish spread and it originates from Greek. A tuatara (tüəˈtärə) is a large reptile commonly found in New Zealand. This word originates from Maori, a Polynesian language.

The word tarantara is an imitative word that mimics the sound of a bugle. This is actually a variation of the Latin word tantara (tanˈtarə).

Tara means star not only in Sanskrit, but also in many other Indian languages, such as Hindi and Telugu. So there you have it, a post all about my name! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you will indulge my narcissism especially since I recently celebrated my birthday!

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!

Artwork by my fabulous sister, Anya.

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for three years! A big thank you to all of my blog followers for your support, likes, and comments.

As you can see, I have set some lofty goals for this following year. If you know anyone who loves etymology, please refer them to my blog. If you are a frequent visitor, please consider following my blog so you never miss a word!