Spell It! was the third Scripps-provided pre-nationals study list. It was released in 2007 and served as the must-know guide for any spellers competing their district, county, regional, or state bees until it was replaced by Words of the Champions for the 2020 Bee Season.
Spell It! is the only Scripps list thus far to split up words by language and is easily the smallest by word amount. You can find the entire list, as well a couple tips on myspellit.com. The following files are lists of all Spell It! words, both consolidated into one document and separated into each of the 14 individual language groups in the guide. Even though Spell It! is now outdated, I can totally guarantee the words from the list will continue appearing in Scripps’ pre-national bees for many, many years to come. This means memorizing the words on Spell It! is most definitely still worth your time. Feel free to print these and have someone quiz you!
Latin has the most Spell It! words out of all the languages, and is thus one of the most important languages to understand. While learning these 144 words, see if you can recognize any patterns. This will help you if you get a Latin word onstage that you don’t know.
There’s a high probability you’ll get one of Arabic’s 83 Spell-It! words at the school, local, regional, or national level, so study up!
Some of the words in this category can be a little counterintuitive to the average English speaker, be careful!!
At least a few of French’s 98 words will present themselves to you at some point in competition. You should learn all of them, and watch out for huge vowel clusters!
An eponym is a word named after a person. A lot of the time, they refer to a type of plant or person with a certain personality or appearance.
When studying German, be on the lookout for consonant clusters (on the opposite end of the spectrum from French.) German’s proclivity for consonant usage is unmatched by any other language.
Despite looking and sounding kind of strange to English speakers, Slavic languages are generally pretty straightforward and consistent with their rules.
If you’re in doubt about the /k/ sound in a Slavic word, k is almost always the letter to go with. (Exceptions: cravat, cossack, and commissar)
Generally, you don’t want to go too crazy with Dutch. /ü/ is usually spelled with oo and /f/ is spelled with an f. However, as you get to higher-level Dutch words, it’s crucial that you are aware of its quirks. These include ui being pronounced /ā/, /y/ being spelled with a j, v being pronounced /f/, and /ü/ sometimes being spelled with oe.
Old English is also spelled much how it sounds: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) would not a bad strategy here.
/ək/ at the end of a word is pretty much always spelled –ock. Watch out for a couple odd ones here and there; Wiccan, heifer, or pinafore could be tough if you aren’t familiar with them.
For these languages, words were absorbed into English by European settlers who transcribed what they heard when they came into contact with indigenous New World peoples, so naturally the words (which were once mere transcriptions) are mostly spelled exactly as they sound.
This set of languages tends to follow the basic /ä/ = a, /ā/ = e, /ē/ = i, /ō/ = o, /ü/=u vowel scheme.
Japanese is widely considered to be a very simple language, 99% of the time.
It follows the /ä/ /ā/ /ē/ /ō/ /ū/ vowel scheme used in the New World Languages, EXCEPT that ā is spelled ei most of the time. It can also occasionally be spelled with an e, but thankfully intuition and feel for the word can usually determine which one is right. /k/ is always k and /ī/ is always ai.
Greek’s prevalence and extreme importance in the spelling bee is undeniable.
Be careful for /ī/ being spelled y. /f/ is spelled ph. Root words are often very helpful in breaking down a Greek word, and even though you technically can’t ask root questions at any bee below the national level, I’d still strongly recommend being acquainted with basic Greek roots.
Italian is full of terms referring to food or music.
Most of the time, Italian follows the /ä/ = a /ā/ = e /ē/ = i /ō/=o /ū/ = u vowel scheme. Watch out for double letters (belladonna, falsetto, illuminati) and /g/ often being spelled gh. /ts/ is usually zz (think pizza), /ē/ at the end of a word is occasionally e (provolone is the only example on Spell It!), and /sh/ is sc 90% of the time.
If you know the rules, Spanish is usually not too crazy.
Like others, Spanish usually follows the /ä/ = a /ā/ = e /ē/ = i /ō/=o /ū/ = u vowel scheme. /h/ is j and /k/ is c when it comes before a, o, or u, and qu when it comes before e or i.