Broken bee? Spelling experts say tougher words are out there

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The future of the Scripps National Spelling Bee may appear bleak after eight kids were declared co-champions because bee organizers ran out of difficult words.

But the ex-spellers and personal coaches who helped crack the code of the bee are optimistic the competition can recover and produce a single champion next year and for many years to come.

They say the bee recycles words too often and uses too many words that primarily entertain the TV audience rather than challenge the spellers.

They also say Scripps can break free of the tendencies that have made its word list too easy to predict. They suggest that scientific jargon, geographic names and words derived from slang or literature offer ample options to make the bee more difficult.

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