Why do some spellers ask for the etymology of a word?

Why do some spellers at the bee ask for the etymology of a word?
Some are just buying time. Others, however, have studied language patterns and Greek and Latin roots. They are fishing for clues to spell an unfamiliar word. For instance, Japanese, Spanish, Greek and Latin words follow fairly consistent rules for spelling. Once you know these rules, and you know that a word is from one of these languages, your chance of guessing a correct spelling is increased enormously. Once you know, for instance, that the Greek root –phag- meaning, to eat, you are equipped to spell a fairly large number of words, such as esophagus, sarcophagus, bibliophagous, and biophagous. These all appear to be 50-cent words, but they are spelled exactly like they sound once your know phag is pronounced in each of these words.

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