‘Aposiopesis’ eliminates JG speller from national bee

May 29, 2018 GMT

Una VanWynsberghe incorrectly spelled “aposiopesis” on Tuesday to be eliminated from the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“Huuuhhh,” VanWynsberghe responded in a high voice, her eyebrows raised, when pronouncer Jacques Bailly offered up the word at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, south of Washington, D.C.

“Can you say that again?” she asked Bailly.

He did and told her that “aposiopesis” is a Greek noun that means “the leaving of a thought explicitly incomplete in writing or speaking often by a sudden breaking off and shifting of grammatical construction for rhetorical purposes. As in, ‘Gail answered with an ‘aposiopesis’ when she replied, ’His problem is, ‘How shall I say?’ ” 

VanWynsberghe, 14, repeated the word and gave it a try.

“A-p-a-c-y-a-p-e-s-i-s,” she said tentatively in video streamed online by ESPN.

A bell dinged to signal her attempt in error. Bailly gave the correct spelling, and VanWynsberghe walked off the stage. 

VanWyns­berghe, who will be a freshman at Lincolnview High School next school year, was among more than 500 spellers, ages 8 to 15, competing in this week’s annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Fourteen other spellers had been eliminated by misspellings Tuesday before VanWynsberghe took the stage as the 166th contestant.

She qualified for the third straight year by again winning the annual Journal Gazette Regional Spelling Bee presented by STAR Financial Bank in March. VanWynsberghe tied for 41st place in the 2017 Scripps bee after tying for 172nd place in the 2016 tournament.

She is the daughter of Dewey and Rachel VanWynsberghe, who grow corn and soybeans outside Van Wert.