Rules

(Sponsored by the Omaha World-Herald)

1. County and district champions of preliminary competitions competing in the Midwest Spelling Bee in Omaha, Neb. must qualify under these requirements: (a) they must not have passed beyond the eighth grade on or before Feb. 1, 2015; (b) they must not have reached their 15th birthday on or before August 31, 2014; (c) speller must attend a school officially enrolled with Scripps National Spelling Bee and (d) any contestant having once won a National Spelling Bee championship is ineligible for future competition.

2. Preliminary competition may be conducted either in writing or orally, or both. The Midwest Spelling Bee, however, reserves the right to conduct the Midwest finals in Omaha in both modes. Vocabulary will be introduced into the competition in a practice format only. This is to help introduce competitors to the new format within the national competition in Washington D.C. The vocabulary (practice) round will be conducted before the written and oral rounds.

3. Word lists will not be supplied by the Midwest Spelling Bee for local bees. National Bee headquarters will be responsible for compiling the word list for the finals in Washington. Words used in the national finals shall be selected from the 2015 Spell It!, from the 2015 Sponsor Bee Guide, International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002 Merriam-Webster Inc.

4. Words shall be pronounced according to the diacritical markings in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc., and the 2015 Sponsor Bee Guide, from which the enunciator shall select the definition or definitions that he/she gives. With the approval of the judges, he/she may give a fuller explanation of the meaning of the word to supplement the dictionary definition or definitions quoted.

5. In competition, after the enunciator gives the contestant a word, the contestant will be encouraged to pronounce the word before spelling it and after spelling it. However, no contestant will be eliminated for failing to pronounce a word.

6. The contestant may request the enunciator to pronounce the word again, define it, or use it in a sentence. The enunciator shall grant the request until the officials agree that the word has been made reasonable clear to the contestant. Judges may disqualify any contestant who ignores a request to start spelling.

7. Having started to spell a word, a contestant may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning, but in retracing there can be no change of letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence are changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.

8. If, inadvertently, no definition of a homonym is given, the correct spelling of either word shall be accepted as correct. When a speller is given the definition of a homonym, he/she must spell the word defined.

Rules of written rounds

Contestants will be seated according to the number drawn at registration.

Contestants will not be allowed to leave their seats for any reasons once the written rounds have begun. Tissues are available and a 15-minute break will follow the written rounds.

Contestants will be advised to listen to the word pronounced, the sentence and the final pronunciation before writing.

Two practice rounds will be given in order to familiarize the contestants with the rules and procedures of the written rounds.

Monitors will pass out one sheet of paper at the beginning of each written round.

Contestants will write with pens that are provided.

Contestants will write their seat number at the top of each sheet of paper, not their name.

The enunciator will say the word, use it in a sentence and then repeat the word.

At the end of each written round the monitors will pick up the papers and check for errors and other forms of disqualification. For the final check, the judges will review the papers.

Monitors will return to the contestants that have made errors and excuse them from the bee.

Written spelling rounds will determine the 6-10 finalists for the oral spelling rounds.

Contestants may not practice write the words on their hands or other body parts, the table or their spelling paper.

There are to be no corrections made once it has been written.
Examples:
Changing the form of a letter, an “o” to an “a”
Over-writes, darkening of a letter to make it more visible.
Crossing out of words or letters

These rules are implemented in order to be consistent with the oral spelling rounds in which the contestant does not get to correct spelling errors.

In the event that a contestant’s pen causes an error, the contestant is to notify their monitor immediately. They should not try to correct the error until instructed.

Rules of the Oral Round

Talking will not be permitted.

Spellers who make it to the oral rounds will take their places on stage, in an order determined by a random drawing.

Contestants may raise their hands and ask for the word or sentence repeated and/or the definition.

Note: The following rules were implemented last year. Please read closely.

As spellers misspell, they will exit the Bee, until 2 remain.

These two spellers are our Finalists.

After the first of the two spellers misspells, the second will be given a chance to spell the misspelled word correctly. If successful, that speller will be given a new word. If that word is spelled correctly, that speller is our champion.

If the speller given a chance to correctly spell the misspelled word either fails to correctly spell the misspelled word, or spells the misspelled word correctly but misspells the potentially championship word, the Bee resumes as per normal, and the next, new, word is offered to the speller who initially misspelled.

Here are examples of what happens when 2 spellers remain:

Speller B misspells.
Speller A spells the misspelled word correctly.
Speller A is then given a new word.
If Speller A spells this new word correctly, Speller A is our Champion.

Or

Speller A misspells.
Speller B misspells the same word.
The Bee resumes, with Speller A being given the next new word.

Or

Speller A misspells.
Speller B correctly spells the misspelled word.
Speller B is given the potentially championship word, but misspells it.
The Bee resumes, with Speller A being given the next new word.

Here is an example of how this may play out:

Two spellers remain.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B spells correctly.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B misspells.
Speller A spells the misspelled word correctly.
Speller A is then given the potentially championship word.
Speller A misspells the word.
A new word is given to Speller B, and the Bee resumes. (The new word given to Speller B is not the Championship word. Instead, the Bee resumes in accordance with the above.)

A final example:

Two spellers remain.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B spells correctly.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B misspells.
Speller A spells the misspelled word correctly.
Speller A is then given the potentially championship word.
Speller A misspells the word.
Speller B is given a new word.
Speller B spells correctly.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B spells correctly.
Speller A misspells.
Speller B also misspells.
Speller A is given a new word.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B spells correctly.
Speller A spells correctly.
Speller B misspells.
Speller A correctly spells the misspelled word.
Speller A then receives a new, potentially championship, word, which Speller A spells correctly. Speller A is our champion.

Please note: In accordance with National Guidelines, all local judges’ decisions are final.
Please read and understand these rules prior to the day of the Bee, and ask any questions to the local officials prior to the Bee.

9. Webster’s New International Dictionary and its Addenda Section, copyright 2002, Merriam-Webster, Inc., shall serve as the final authority for the spelling of words in the Midwest Spelling Bee. Such variations and reformed spellings as appear in small type at the bottom of the page in Webster’s, keyed with a dagger or double dagger, will not be accepted as correct. Obsolete and archaic spellings will be regarded as errors.

10. Any question relating to the spelling of a word should be referred to the judges immediately in writing before completion of the current round. No protest can be entertained after a round is completed.

11. The judges are in complete control of the bee. Their decision shall be final on all questions.

12. Any contestant having once won a National Spelling Bee championship is ineligible for future competition in the National Spelling Bee and the Midwest Spelling Bee.