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How Do These Kids Know How to Spell These Spelling Bee Words?

Superior Spellers Compete At National Spelling Bee
Alex Wong, Getty Images

A 13-year-old New York boy captured the Scripps National Spelling Bee title when he conquered “the German curse” on his way to spelling’s top prize. Arvind Mahankali has never had a “knaidel,” but he was able to spell the German-derived Yiddish word for a matzo ball Thursday night to earn the huge trophy and more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Ironically, Arvind finished third the two previous years, eliminated both times on German words. After winning the title “The German curse,” Arvind said, “has turned into a German blessing.”  After seeing some of the words these kids had to spell it is utterly amazing to me who they do it.

Here is a sample of the words they were asked to spell:

  • KNAIDEL
  • CYANOPHYCEAN
  • LANSCENET
  • MALACOPHILOUS
  • BILBOQUET
  • CABOTINAGE
  • TENERAMENTE
  • OLECRANON

Not only could I not spell them or pronounce them correctly, but I have no idea what they even mean. It really is amazing how these kids do it. The Script’s Spelling Bee event was held at National Harbor, Maryland.  See how bad I am? I misspelled Scripp’s.

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