Tuesday, June 30, 2009

www.wordnik.com: a promising website for word-lovers

I subscribe to Charles Hodgson's podictionary.com RSS feeds, and found a link to this new site mentioned at the bottom of one of his entries. It looks great! Check it out yourself: go to www.wordnik.com, enter a word and see an interesting variety of information pertaining to it: pronunciation, etymology, common usage, and words with which your chosen word is often associated. The Wordnik.com creators describe it as "an ongoing project devoted to discovering all the words and everything about them", and they suggest that using their site might improve your Scrabble scores. It looks to me like the site would be a fun way to prepare for the 2010 Dover Town Library Spelling Bee. Who knows--maybe we'll find some new words there for our Bee players!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maybe not a source of Bee words, but definitely worth a read if you like words

Former Library Trustee (and general braniac) Alison Piper is one of my secret weapons in the construction of the annual Bee word list. I sweat and fret, and then pass the list to Alison who gives it a once-over and easily points out many of my strategic errors. In years when the Bee contestants beat the word list, I turn to Alison's prepared "extra-hard Secret Killer Bee words", which yield gems such as 2007's odontalgia and 2009's gnorimoschema.

Alison sent me the link to Schott's Vocab's recent Tom Swifty contest, and I liked the site so much I decided to write about it in here. Here's the NYTimes website's description of Schott's Vocab:

Schott’s Vocab is a repository of unconsidered lexicographical trifles — some serious, others frivolous, some neologized, others newly newsworthy. Each day, Schott's Vocab explores news sites around the world to find words and phrases that encapsulate the times in which we live or shed light on a story of note. If language is the archives of history, as Emerson believed, then Schott’s Vocab is an attempt to index those archives on the fly.
Ben Schott is the author of “Schott’s Original Miscellany,” its two sequels, and the yearbook “Schott’s Almanac.” He is a contributing columnist to The Times’s Op-Ed page. He lives in London.
His Web site can be viewed at
benschott.com, and his Opinion pieces here.

Today's word in Schott's Vocab is "funemployed"--people who are unemployed and enjoying it. You can subscribe to the feed on RSS and Twitter--it's worth a look.

Thanks, Alison!

Friday, June 5, 2009

More on the Scripps Bee

Amelia Slawsby sent me a great link to Newsweek's spelling bee coverage:

I love some of the words they highlighted, particularly akropodion (the most prominent part of the back of one's heel). Perhaps we'll have a body part category next year...antecubital, philtrum, akropodion...

For those of you who missed it in real time, check out the Scripps Bee website:
http://www.spellingbee.com/ I absolutely love the fact that a girl named Kavya won it--kavya was one of the Dover Bee words, and it refers to a type of Sanskrit poem. What a beautiful idea, to name one's child after a poetic work. (Notice that we don't see many kids named Ode, Limerick, Ditty or Haiku--but maybe the trend will catch, now that a Kavya has risen to fame in spelling.)