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US national spelling bee

 
author & internet detective
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This year, there were eight winnersof the US national spelling bee because they were close to running out of difficult words.

That's certainly a happy piece of news which is a nice break from the rest of the news. Does anyone know what happens next year? Do they find more hard words? Or do they have to recycle?
 
Marshal
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:. . . . Does anyone know what happens next year? . . . .

That sounds like an invitation to move this thre‍ad to the UGENT forum
 
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Just have 8 winners.  There's only so many words.  I feel like some of those words shouldn't even be in there like words from foreign languages that probably aren't used by anyone.
 
Ranch Foreman
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Well, most of our words are words from foreign languages after all.  Some are used frequently; some infrequently; some almost never.  It's the nature of a spelling bee that they're going to go after the obscure words.  One can also argue that spelling bees don't really test anything particularly useful (at least, for the extremely difficult and obscure words at championship level) - but as long as some people are enjoying the competition and paying attention to it, they can do whatever they need to in order to make it suitably challenging.

I wonder if they really exhausted all the obscure difficult words in the language... or if they merely exhausted all the words they had prepared in their lists.  Maybe next year they will just dig deeper, unearthing words not seen in centuries.  Though in that case, the difficulty is getting an authoritative spelling.  But I think we can still find source material to draw from...

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

 
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Is that 'Jaberwocky' in local dialect?
 
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Piet Souris wrote:Is that 'Jaberwocky' in local dialect?



It's the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, which was written in English (as it was then) in the 16th century.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Paul Clapham wrote:. . . the 16th century.

Was it that recent? I thought it was much older. It includes a story about farting.
 
Mike Simmons
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Chaucer died in 1400, after which his writing output decreased substantially.

I had considered another example:

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning.
ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned,
geong in geardum, þone god sende
folce to frofre; fyrenðearfe ongeat
þe hie ær drugon aldorlease
lange hwile. Him þæs liffrea,
wuldres wealdend, woroldare forgeaf;
Beowulf wæs breme blæd wide sprang,
Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in.


But Jeff's poem seemed a little easier...
 
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