MORNING AT THE BEE: This is very strange, having no spelling going on this morning. Why are the semifinal rounds in the afternoon, giving the kids minimal break time before the finals, rather than now?
Regardless, they've posted the semifinal computer test administered last night, with the following twelve hardcore spelling words:
- uh-PAH-fuh-gee: It's like that thing of where there's a small hollow curvature at the top or bottom of the shaft of a column.
- BOOM-slahng, BOOM-slang: Snake from Southern Africa.
- krip-tahm-NEE-zhuh: It's like that thing of where you remember something only you don't realize you're remembering it and think you're being conscious of it for the first time.
- dih-jehr-AH-tee: nerds
- YOU-tuh-lee: It's like that thing of where your body is made up of a constant number of cells.
- ji-ro-KAH-tuh-lid: worm (ji rhyming with eye, to be clear)
- kah-fee-KLOTCH, koh-fee-KLUTCH: It's like that thing of where someone else takes the last cinnamon roll and you have to sit around and listen to other people talking too much.
- mehr-tench-EE-uh, mehr-ten(t)-SEE-uh: also known as the Virginia cowslip, which I'm sure is a euphemism for something.
- ah-no-mah-SEE-oh-luh-gee: study of grouped words
- puh-hoo-tuh-KA-wuh: a curvaceous New Zealand tree.
- te-KWIST-lah-TAY-kuhn: a particular language family deriving from Mexico.
The twelve vocab words were slightly less onerous -- I'll assume you can use dilettante, enigmatic, lionize, and sangroid in a sentence, but what about anacouluthon, gossalgia, hyalescent, keratectomy, sedulous, telluria, vitrine, and xylophagous?
Below the fold, Cliff has some thoughts on the semis field:
I've done some calculations for the spelling, with some interesting findings. Of the 42 semifinalists, or top 15% (if you are reading this, congratulations!!!), 37% are first-timers, 27% are seconds, 22% are three-peats, and 17% are four or five-peats. It seems like a nice distribution, with a lot of first and second-timers (a majority, it is true), but to put these numbers into context, only 7% of all the total 218 first-timers at the bee actually made the semifinals. 26% of second-timers advanced (almost 4 times more likely!) as well as an 69% of three-peaters. 100% of four and five-peaters advanced (though the sample size for this group is very small, as usual).
TL;DR: Experience matters a lot, but proportionally the largest difference this year is between first (7% advancing) and second timers (27%, larger by about a factor of 4).