(NEW YORK) — Sure, the whiz kids who make it to the National Spelling Bee each year can spell obscure words, but do they know what they mean?
A vocabulary component has been added to the mix this year, which could end up stinging some stellar spellers.
“Spelling and vocabulary are, in essence, two sides of the same coin,” Paige Kimble, director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, said in a statement.
“As a child studies the spelling of a word and its etymology, he will discover its meaning. As a child learns the meaning of a word, it becomes easier to spell. And all this enhances the child’s knowledge of the English language,” she said.
A computer-based vocabulary test will now be given in addition to the computer-based spelling test, and will count for half of a speller’s score cumulative score that determines who advances to the semifinal and championship rounds.
The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee will be held in Oxon Hill, Md., from May 28-30, and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Last year, Snigdha Nandipati, then 14, won the National Spelling Bee after she spelled “guetapens,” which, for the record, is a French-derived word meaning to ambush, snare or trap.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Wayne Drash, CNN
Matt Egan, CNN
Sheena Jones, CNN