About The Bee
The word bee, as used in spelling bee,is one of those language puzzles that hasnever been satisfactorily accounted for. Afairly old and widely-used word, it refersto a community social gathering at whichfriends and neighbors join together ina single activity (sewing, quilting, barnraising, etc.) usually to help one person orfamily. The earliest known example in printis a spinning bee, in 1769. Other earlyoccurrences are husking bee (1816),apple bee (1827), and logging bee (1836).Spelling bee is apparently an Americanterm. It first appeared in print in 1875, butit seems certain that the word was usedorally for several years before that. Those who used the word, includingmost early students of language,assumed that it was the same word asreferred to the insect.They thought thatthis particular meaning had probablybeen inspired by the obvious similaritybetween these human gatherings and theindustrious, social nature of a beehive. Butin recent years scholars have rejected thisexplanation, suggesting instead that thisbee is a completely different word.One possibility is that it comes from theMiddle English word bene, which means“a prayer”or“a favor”(and is related to themore familiar word boon). In England, adialect form of this word, been or bean,referred to“voluntary help given byneighbors toward the accomplishmentof a particular task.”(Webster’sThird NewInternational Dictionary).Bee may simply be a shortened form of been, but no one is entirely certain.
heVentura CountyStar has sponsored theCounty Spelling Beefor more than 50 years. This year, after careful review of our spelling bee process — andthe processes of fellow sisterScripps newspapers —The Starhas decided to allow all 136 schoolwinners to advance directly to thefinal county spelling bee. The Star is pleased to providea final county bee that will beexciting for all school championsand the schools they represent.Ultimately, one talentedspeller will win an all-expensespaid trip to the 85th annual 2012Scripps National Spelling Bee inWashington, D.C. at the end of May through the first week of June.In 1925, nine newspaperscollaborated to start the NationalSpelling Bee. Frank Neuhauser,from Louisville, Kentucky won thisbee by correctly spelling gladiolus.In recent years, the ScrippsNational Spelling Bee has enjoyeda significant surge in popularity. This will be the bee’s 20th livebroadcast and the seventh inprimetime. The Scripps National SpellingBee is an educational programsponsored by the E.W. ScrippsCompany in conjunction withsponsoring newspapers andorganizations around the world.Its main purpose is to helpstudents improve their spelling,increase their vocabularies, learnconcepts and develop correctEnglish usage that will help themall their lives.
Bill Clark / Special toThe Star
Dylan McEttrick of Ojai competes at last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee at theGaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
Karen Quincy Loberg/The Star
ltimately, onetalented speller willwin an all-expensespaid trip to the 85thannual 2012 ScrippsNational Spelling Beein Washington, D.C.at the end of Maythrough the ﬁrstweek of June.
Ventura MissionarySchool’s CiannaCalia adjusts themicrophone heightwhile competingat last year’s2011 countywidespelling bee.