4th Place Finisher in Spelling Bee Got Knocked Out On The Word “Minhag”

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Siddharth KrishnakumarAs reported earlier on Matzav, Missouri teen Gokul Venkatachalam and Kansas’ Vanya Shivashankar tied for the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee title on Thursday, in the second consecutive year officials have crowned co-champions.

The 13-year-old Shivashankar, whose sister won the Bee in 2009, secured the title on the word scherenschnitte. Venkatachalam, 14, was told he would be co-champion if he spelled his final word correctly and with asking a definition, won on the word nunatak.

A Washington , DC, contestant made it to the final four people before he spelled a word – a Hebrew one, in fact – wrong. The contestant, Siddharth Krishnakumar, a seventh-grader, misspelled “minhag,” defined as a Jewish religious custom.

The sentence used for context for “minhag” during the competition was: “When Ari returns home for Passover, the minhag is for his family to eat unleavened bread and also for his mother to ask him if he is seeing anyone.

Krishnakumar misspelled the word and was bounced.

Perplexing to this writer and others is why Scripps considered “minhag” an English word, when it is clear not one.

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}

8 COMMENTS

  1. I agree it’s not an English word. However, it’s an entry in Wikipedia just like those other two foreign words mentioned in the article, so I guess someone’s got a very expansive definition of what constitutes an English word.

    Naturally, it would be very important to contestants named Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar as to whether a word is really English or not.

  2. “it would be very important to contestants named Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar as to whether a word is really English or not”

    MInhag is now an English word. I use it all the time in English sentences. As do many of us.

    The better question is why the National Spelling Bee has been dominated by Indian-American participants in recent years. Why can children of immigrants from India able to spell better than the rest of us?

  3. I once met Amy Goldstein at a friends shabbos table. She came in fourth in the National Spelling bee. She got out on the word “h”. Like in h is the 8th letter in the English alphabet. It is spelled a-i-t-c-h. Her attempt was a-i-c-h.

    Crazy but true. Google it for yourself

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