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1. HCLS Spelling Bee officials are responsible for selecting the word lists that will be used at each local spelling bee. All words on Scripps National Spelling Bee word lists may be found in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002, Merriam-Webster.
4. The speller may ask the pronouncer to say the word again, define it, use it in a sentence, provide the part of speech, and/or provide the language of origin. The pronouncer shall grant all such requests until the judges agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the speller. Root word questions will not be entertained by the pronouncer and judges.
5. The judges may disqualify any speller who ignores a request to start spelling.
6. The role of the pronouncer is (1) to correctly pronounce the word and (2) to give a sentence, definition, and other information about the word at the speller’s request. The role of the judges is to determine whether the contestant has spelled the word correctly. The role of the speller is (1) to gather as much information as possible to help spell the word correctly and (2) to spell the word correctly. The judges may not disqualify a speller for asking a question.
7. Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning. In retracing, however, there can be no change of letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence is changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.
8. The competition shall be conducted in rounds. Each speller remaining in the spelling bee at the start of a round shall spell one word in the round, except as provided in Rule 10.
9. Upon missing the spelling of a word, the speller immediately drops out of the competition, except as provided in Rule 10. The next word on the pronouncer’s list is given to the next speller.
10. When the number of spellers is reduced to two, the elimination procedure changes. At that point, when one speller misspells a word, the other speller shall be given an opportunity to spell that same word. If the second speller spells that word correctly, plus the next word on the pronouncer’s list, then the second speller shall be declared the champion.
11. If one of the last two spellers misspells a word and the other speller, after correcting the error, misspells the new word, then the misspelled new word shall be referred to the other speller. If this other speller then succeeds in correcting the error and spells the next word on the list, then he or she shall be declared the champion.
12. If both spellers misspell the same word, both shall continue in the competition, and the one who first misspelled the word shall be given a new word to spell.
13. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002, Merriam-Webster, shall serve as the final authority for the spelling of words. If more than one spelling is listed for a word that the pronouncer has provided for the speller to spell, any of these spellings shall be accepted as correct if all of the following three criteria are met: (1) the pronunciations of the words are identical, (2) the definitions of the words are identical, and (3) the words are clearly identified as being standard variants of each other. Spellings at other locations having temporal labels (such as archaic, obsolete), stylistic labels (such as substand, nonstand), or regional labels (such as North, Midland, Irish) which differ from main entry spellings not having these status labels shall not be accepted as correct.
14. Any question relating to the spelling of a word should be referred to the designated official immediately in writing on the official appeal form. The official appeal form should contain space for the following: the word in question, the name of the speller, and the reason for the appeal.
15. Appeals may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, or teacher of the speller who is seeking reinstatement in the contest. The judges will not entertain appeals from individuals seeking to dislodge another speller from the competition. The deadline for filing an appeal is before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had s/he stayed in the competition. No appeal will be entertained after that word has been given to another speller. When only two spellers remain, an oral appeal must be made immediately, that is, before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had s/he stayed in the competition.
16. If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will indicate which word is to be spelled. If the listed word is not properly identified, either by defining it or distinguishing the homonyms, any correct spelling of any homonym of the word will be accepted.
17. The speller shall not be disqualified for failing to note that a word is capitalized (noted as “cap,” “usu cap,” “often cap,” or “sometimes cap” in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002, Merriam-Webster).
18. The judges are in complete control of the competition. Their decision shall be final on all questions.
Copyright 2003 Scripps National Spelling Bee. All Rights Reserved.