Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee names pronouncing team for 76th annual competition

Mon, March 17, 2003 by Paige Kimble

CINCINNATI - Dr. Jacques Bailly, a scholar of ancient Greek and Latin, and Dr. Brian Mark Sietsema, who holds a doctorate degree in linguistics, have been selected to serve as the pronouncing team for the 76th Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, which will be held May 28-29 in Washington, D.C.Bailly, associate pronouncer for the National Spelling Bee since 1991, has been named to serve as pronouncer. He succeeds the late Dr. Alex J. Cameron, who died recently of a heart attack at his home in Kettering, Ohio. Sietsema will succeed Bailly as associate pronouncer.The National Spelling Bee's pronouncing team researches and offers pronunciations for words selected for the competition. They also respond to spellers' requests for definitions, sentences, and etymological information."Jacques Bailly and Brian Mark Sietsema bring an impressive depth of knowledge and academic credibility to America's largest and longest-running educational promotion," said Paige P. Kimble, director of the National Spelling Bee. "Their impeccable credentials and their thorough understanding of language and words strengthen the National Spelling Bee's academic foundation." Bailly, 37, assistant professor in the classics department at the University of Vermont, was the 1980 National Spelling Bee champion. He received his undergraduate degree in classics from Brown University in 1988, studied in Switzerland for two years as a Fulbright scholar and earned his Ph.D. in classics and philosophy from Cornell University in 1997. His research interests include Greek and Roman philosophy; intellectual history; and Greek and Latin prose. In addition to his expertise in Greek and Latin, he also is fluent in French and German. Bailly has been the National Spelling Bee's resident etymologist since 1993. He also has written educational material for the Bee's Web site and has been a Spelling Bee word panel contributor.Sietsema, 40, is an ordained priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is currently serving a parish in Lansing, Mich. He received an undergraduate degree in religious studies from the University of Michigan in 1985 and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. His doctoral dissertation was on African tone languages.Sietsema has taught at the University of Michigan and served from 1990 to 1998 as pronunciation editor for Merriam-Webster. He was responsible for checking the pronunciation of all 180,000 words published in the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and oversaw the pronunciation of audio entries for the CD-ROM version. He also researched pronunciations for Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature and Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Third Edition. Sietsema joined the staff of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in 1998 as a writer for the Office of the Archbishop. He was ordained a priest in the Greek Orthodox Church in 2000. The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) in Cincinnati and 243 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers.This year's competition is the 76th spelling bee. The purpose of the National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. The final rounds of the National Spelling Bee will be broadcast live on ESPN.

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