participants are expected to arrive at the event location with adult
supervision no later than 30 minutes prior to the announced starting
time of the contest.
The role of the pronouncer is (1) to correctly pronounce
the word and (2) to give a sentence, definition, and other
information about the word at the speller's request. Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start
over, retracing the spelling from the beginning. In retracing,
however, there can be no change of letters or their sequence
from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence
is changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.
The role of the speller
is (1) to gather as much information as possible to help
spell the word correctly and (2) to spell the word correctly.
In competition, after the pronouncer gives the speller a
word, the speller is encouraged to pronounce the word
before spelling it and after spelling it. The judges may
not disqualify a speller for failing to pronounce the word
either before or after spelling it.
The speller may ask the pronouncer to say the word again,
define it, and use it in a sentence.
Under no circumstance is any speller asked to correct the
misspelling of another speller.
If none of the spellers remaining in the spelling bee at
the start of a round spells a word correctly during that
round, all shall remain in the competition with the spellers
spelling in the original order.
21. All spellers eliminated
in the same round will be tied for the same place.
During the final rounds of the competition, the judges may
choose to allow participants the option of writing the word
down on paper before being required to spell it orally.
If only one of the spellers remaining in the competition at the start
of a round spells a word correctly during that round, a new round shall
begin and the speller shall be given an opportunity to spell the next
word on the list. If the speller succeeds in correctly spelling the new
word, the speller shall be declared the champion. Otherwise (that is,
if the speller does not succeed in correctly spelling the new word),
all the spellers remaining in the competition at the start of the
previous round shall remain in the competition. A new round will begin,
with these spellers spelling in the original order.
champion is not the champion until he or she has spelled correctly two
more words than the speller or spellers placing second have spelled.
These two words will be spelled consecutively only if the champion is
the last speller in a round.
is possible in two instances to have a round in which only one word is
spelled. The first instance of a one-word round is the correct spelling
of the final championship word. The second instance of a one-word round
is the misspelling of what could have been the final championship word.
Any question relating to the spelling of a word should be
referred to the designated official immediately in writing
on the official appeal form that will be provided at the
competition. The official appeal form will contain space
for the following: the word in question, the name of the
speller, and the reason for the appeal.
Appeals may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, and/or teacher/administrator
of the speller who is seeking reinstatement in the contest.
The judges will not entertain appeals from individuals seeking
to dislodge another speller from the competition. The deadline
for filing an appeal is before the speller affected would
have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the
competition. No appeal will be entertained after that word
has been given to another speller.
When only five or fewer spellers remain, an oral appeal must be made
immediately, that is, before the speller affected would
have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the
If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will
indicate which word is to be spelled. If the listed word
is not properly identified, either by defining it or distinguishing
the homonyms, any correct spelling of any homonym of the
word will be accepted.
The speller shall not be disqualified for failing to note
that a word is capitalized (noted as "cap," "usu
cap," "often cap," or "sometimes cap."
The dictionary provided by the judges shall serve as the
final authority for the spelling of words. If more than
one spelling is listed for a word, any of these spellings
will be accepted as correct if the word either matches the
pronunciation and definition provided by the pronouncer
or if it is clearly identified as being a standard variant
of the word that the speller has been asked to spell. Spellings
at other locations having archaic, obsolete, or regional
labels (such as North, Midland, Irish) that are different
from those at the main entry will not be accepted as correct.
30. Previous contestants and winners of this championship
bee are allowed to compete in subsequent years as long as
who correctly spell their Round One oral words
advance to Round Two, which may be a 15 word (minimum) written
test. This written test will occur immediately following
each speller's successful completion of round one.
Two shall be a 15 word (minimum) written test, with eliminations
occurring in accordance with a "threshold of 25"
standard. One point shall be given for each word misspelled,
resulting in scores that range from 0 to 15: The score for
no words misspelled shall be 0. Spellers' scores in this
round shall be plotted on a chart. Beginning at 0 on the
chart, the judges shall begin adding spellers at each consecutive
scoring level until a sum of at least 25 spellers has been
attained. This point shall be called the "threshold
of 25," and all spellers with scores at levels beyond
the "threshold of 25" shall be eliminated from
will be announced as soon as all ballots have been scored.
Spellers with written test scores beyond the "threshold
of 25" will be eliminated in Round Two, and all other
remaining spellers will advance to Round Three.
correct spellings of all words will be provided at the
conclusion of the test.
The Southern California Spelling Bee Championship
will neither release the individual test results nor the
range of scores. However, any speller not qualifying for
Round Three may obtain a copy of his/her graded test paper.
These spellers may disclose their results at their discretion.
TWO Q & A
How many words does a speller have to spell correctly
in order to advance beyond Round Two?
We do not know. Spellers are not competing against a pre-set
standard, such as correctly spelling all words. A speller's
success in Round Two depends on how well he/she scores on
the test in comparison to other spellers' scores on the
What is the significance of the number 25?
We project that with the threshold of 25 standard we will
safely manage to advance a certain number of spellers so
that the competition may be completed in a timely manner.
Am I reading correctly that only 25 spellers will qualify
for the third round of competition?
No: At least 25 spellers will qualify. It is possible that
many more than 25 spellers will qualify. Let's say that
14 spellers have scores between 0 and 10 (the lower the
number, the better the score). Twenty (20) spellers have
scores of 11. These 20 spellers will be added to the 14
with scores between 0 and 10. At that point the threshold
of 25 will have been attained and a total of 34 spellers
will advance to the third round of competition. Those spellers
with scores ranging between 12 and 15 would not qualify
for the third round of competition in this hypothetical
What will the Bee do if all spellers in Round Two have
the same scores?
If all spellers in Round Two achieve the same score, then
all of these spellers will advance to Round Three. However,
the Southern California Spelling Bee Championship
regards this possibility as extremely remote. There will
be a significant range of difficulty in the words on the
test. This range of difficulty will almost certainly produce
a wide distribution of scores between 0 and 15.