Spelling Finals Promise To Bee Exciting

Jun 1, 2017
Originally published on June 1, 2017 12:09 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Got a question for you, Rachel.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK.

INSKEEP: How do you spell tapas?

MARTIN: Tapas, like small plates of overpriced food?

INSKEEP: Tapas, yes, exactly.

MARTIN: T-A-P-A-S.

INSKEEP: That's exactly right.

MARTIN: Thank you.

INSKEEP: And you are right on track with Edith Fuller, who correctly spelled the word tapas yesterday at the National Spelling Bee. The finals start today. And here is another word that Edith was asked to spell yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nyctinasty.

MARTIN: What?

INSKEEP: Nyctinasty. Nyctinasty.

MARTIN: (Laughter) OK. Right.

INSKEEP: Let's check in with Edith Fuller again. You notice I didn't make you spell that one.

MARTIN: Thank you.

INSKEEP: This is a good time to tell you that Edith is 6, the youngest speller ever to make it this far. She and all good spellers know that there are some key questions to ask.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

EDITH: Will you please give me the language of origin?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's made up of Greek elements that were probably first combined in German.

EDITH: Nyctinasty. N-Y-C-T-I-N-A-S-T-Y. Nyctinasty.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Correct.

INSKEEP: Wow.

MARTIN: That's amazing.

INSKEEP: You know, the Greek elements, that would have...

MARTIN: I know. I love that she's like yes, now I get it.

INSKEEP: ...They're the clue that - oh, yes, of course, the Greek elements first combined in German. Nyctinasty sounds like a program on Nickelodeon - nyctinasty - or a particular form of nastiness - nyctinasty - but actually it's the movement of plants in response to the onset of darkness.

MARTIN: I like how much you're getting into this. So Edith is a home-schooler from Oklahoma. We're sad to report she will not be one of the 40 competitors in the finals today. She did great on stage, not well enough on the written test though.

INSKEEP: Edith Fuller has a long spelling career ahead of her, said at a press conference she helps to compete next year.

MARTIN: And, by the way, when she's not studying spelling, she makes time for hide-and-seek. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.