With the 2019 National Spelling Bee quickly approaching, Hexco has been busy preparing our world of spellers to have the tools they need to tackle even the most difficult word that Dr. Bailley can throw at them! But, with so much information readily available online, our seasoned spellers are noticing some glaring discrepancies between online study platforms… including the official source of the Merriam-Webster (MW) Unabridged online dictionary!
A simple example of the differences in your online options can be found in the word rabbit.
The official source of the MW Unabridged online dictionary shows that the only pronunciation is 'ra-bәt, or as Hexco puts it- <RAB.uht>. The schwa is indicated in the phonetic scheme. However, when you listen to the audio recording, it clearly says 'ra-bit or <RAB.it>. The schwa sound is not pronounced in the audio, and the audio given is not even listed as an alternate pronunciation in the phonetic scheme! Want to be more confused? Well, the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary that is accessible without a paid subscription shows the primary pronunciation to be without the schwa and the secondary pronunciation to be with the schwa, and the audio is also without the official schwa!
A leading online quiz-making platform, which allows users to create their own online tests and lists, also has issues. For example, when creating a test using the word rabbit, you are given options for the definition. The third definition (not the first) is best suited to mimic the MW Unabridged dictionary… and the audio it provides is-- you guessed it!-- without the schwa! So, as you are studying these word lists on other online platforms, you are trusting the originators to record their own audio correctly and for the platform to be correct in the information it provides. That is a lot of confidence to have when you are studying a word like tjaele!
So, who can you trust? Since the change of the official source in 2017, Hexco has been re-recording all of our audio to reflect the true and correct pronunciations as listed in the MW Unabridged dictionary. To date, we have culled through over 60,000 words! Audio has been re-recorded and word-work has been updated. (New Nat's Notes, Verbomania, Blitz Lists, Spell Buddies, Paideia lists and our topical lists. Printed versions still reflect the print Merriam Webster Dictionary.) Our online eMentor will pronounce 'ra-bәt (<RAB.uht>)! And, there is still more work for us to do!
The bottom line is that you can trust Hexco! We have dedicated our time and resources to provide all of our spellers exactly what they need to soar at spelling!