I have to post about the National Spelling Bee that was broadcast last night; I’m fond of spelling bees in general (I still remember being furious with myself in grade school for blowing the word Christmas), but this one was particularly notable because the winning word was Ursprache ‘protolanguage’—a word dear to the heart of this Indo-Europeanist manqué. (It’s pronounced OOR-shprah-khuh, but the NPR newsreader who announced the result this morning made it rhyme with rake, which annoyed me mightily.) Oddly, the word that eliminated the second-place finisher (Canadian Finola Hackett, who’d lucked out with a string of French-derived words she handled easily) was also pure German (to the point of usually being capitalized): Weltschmerz. (The poor girl, after much agonizing, started off “V…”) Also oddly, several of the other late-round words were language-related as well: tmesis, koine, and tutoyer. Next year look out for laryngeal and aphaeresis!