Posted on October 19, 2016
Webster's Online for Class and School Spelling Bees
First tier spelling bees use new "official" source
Just a tip to keep you in the "know" regarding school and classroom bees in 2016-17--If you log in to the National Spelling Bee website at spellingbee.com and read carefully, you will see where it specifies that Merriam Webster's Unabridged Online Dictionary will be the "official" source for School and Classroom bees.
NOTE: At this time, we do not know the official source for the Regional and National Spelling Bee, but be sure to check your account to know of any possible rule changes.
FAQ: Is the online version different than Webster's 3rd International (printed) Dictionary that has been used in the past as the official source?
Yes, at this time, about 30% of the words in the online dictionary are different from the printed version. The good news is, while a number of words have changed in the 450 word classroom list, most of these are relatively easy! However, you can subscribe to the online dictionary online after a 14-day free trial (this is how you can get the official pronunciations of words). You can also practice the school and classroom words through Word Club.
FAQ: How are the words different?
The key differences between the online dictionary and the prior printed dictionary include the following. (1) The stopped "d." has been eliminated. This was used in the pronunciation of words spelled with a "t" and pronounced with a "d," such as in petal and totem. Last year, these would have been <PED.uhl> and <TOH.duhm> as their first pronunciation, and now these are pronounced <PET.uhl> and <TOH.tuhm>. (2) Many words that had a "ə̇" are now pronounced with a schwa. The "ə̇" is converted to the "i" sound in our phonetic scheme, and now they are going back to pronouncing it with a schwa. There are a large number of these words, such as rabbit <RAB.uht> which last year was <RAB.it>, and pundit <PUHN.duht> which last year was <PUHN.dit>, and there are many more. A large number of words show no pronunciation and many of these have an audio recording. However, many words in the online dictionary show no pronunciation and have no audio.