Topic:Spelling

We have occasionally invoked Tom Lehrer when discussing how the simple letter "e" can change the meaning of many words, citing his song "Silent 'E.'" That "e" can also magically change a word into another form, such as a noun into a verb. This being illogical English, there are few "rules" as to what it does, though. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Spelling, Words
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In 1913, the National Press Club hosted a spelling bee that pitted members of Congress against members of the press. This week, the club celebrated the centennial of that event by bringing lawmakers and journalists together once again for a spelling battle, and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia emerged as the victor. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Media, Politics, Spelling
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On Wednesday night, members of Congress and the press will publicly demonstrate their spelling prowess in a reprisal of a 1913 spelling bee, "Best Speller in the United States." Continue reading...
TOPICS: Spelling
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Blog Excerpts

Celebrating Labor (and Labour) Day

On the first Monday in September, the United States observes Labor Day, while Canadians celebrate Labour Day. If you want to know why labour is the accepted spelling in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries like Canada, while Americans prefer labor (and color, favor, honor, humor, and neighbor), check out this classic Word Routes column by Ben Zimmer.
TOPICS: Spelling, Usage, Words
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Much like the government, the English spelling system is a popular punching bag. People love to kvetch about its inconsistencies and exceptions, lamenting the near-impossible task of learning to spell. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Books, Language, Spelling
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Much of the buzz leading up to the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee had to do with the first-ever inclusion of vocabulary questions in the off-stage portions of the competition. But in the end, it came down to a traditional spelling face-off over tricky words originating from other languages. Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, New York had been stumped by German-derived words in the last two Bees, but this time a German word was his salvation. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Spelling
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Two hundred eighty-one young contestants took on the new-and-improved preliminaries of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which for the first time included questions about words' definitions along with their spellings. After the dust had cleared, 42 of them managed to make it to Thursday's semifinals. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Spelling
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