“English hard” is a common Nigerian expression to underscore the difficulty in spelling English words and speaking the language. The finalists at the just concluded mPulse Spelling Bee Competition could certainly not relate, as they made light work of some pretty difficult words. The mindblowing part is, these contestants are children between the ages of 9 and 15, yet they aced spellings some adults would find difficult.
Here are 10 words we couldn’t believe the contestants correctly spelt within 15 seconds:
Callisthenics – You’re probably seeing this word for the first time yet, Jawin James, a 15-year-old student of Bright Stars Model Secondary School got the spelling right. Callisthenics is a form of exercise that does not rely on anything but a person’s own body weight.
Incunabulum – This word certainly sounds like a spell from Harry Potter. However, 12-year-old Akinyele Ademoyegun of Kaydel Comprehensive Secondary School got the spelling right. Incunabulum is an early printed book, especially one printed before 1501. Bet you didn’t know that.
Cupola – Due to its pronunciation, this is a difficult word to spell. However, Ekene Dondavis made no mistake when this challenge was thrown at him. A cupola is a rounded dome forming or adorning a roof or ceiling.
Knead – At first listen, this seems easy until it comes to mind that it is a homophone of the word “Need”. To make things interesting, the contestant asked for the word to be used in a sentence. The Chief pronouncer obliged with the following sentence “I need to knead the dough”. Ogunnaike Esther, an SS1 student of Federal Government Girls College Sagamu, was surely not fooled as she confidently spelt the word. Knead means to massage or squeeze with the hands.
Citronella – Kenechukwu Okafor, an SS2 student of Pegasus Schools, Eket, spelled the word correctly. If you’re confident you can spell it, close your eyes and try spelling it. Citronella is a natural oil that works against mosquitoes
Tercentenary – Jawin James of Bright Stars Model Secondary School got the spelling of this word correctly, to the amazement of the audience. Tercentenary is the three-hundredth anniversary of an event.
Monomania – This was a difficult word to spell. However, Kenechukwu Okafor of Pegasus Schools Eket had other plans as she spelt it like it was a piece of cake. Monomania is an obsessive enthusiasm for a thing.
Herbaceous – The mPulse spelling bee champion, Akinyele Ademoyegun from Kaydel Comprehensive College easily spelt the word. We thought this was pretty cool considering its complexity due to its Latin origin. Herbaceous is a non-woody plant.
Intermezzo – This is one of those words that can be quite confusing to spell correctly because of its pronunciation. However, Semilore Olutekunbi, a 13-year-old student from Dansol High School was spot on with his spelling. Intermezzo is a short connecting instrument in an opera or other musical work.
Kernite – This word has its origins from the early 20th Century county Kern. 12-year-old Akinyele Ademoyegun had no problems spelling this word correctly. Kernite is a crystalline mineral that consists of hydrated sodium borate.
Following an outstanding competition from the 20 finalists, Akinyele Ademoyegun was pronounced the winner of the 2021 mPulse Spelling Bee Competition after his spelling of “Kernite”. Courtesy of MTN and Nestle, he is the proud recipient of a 2million Naira scholarship grant, a laptop, a smartphone, mPulse Goody Bag, and a few Nestle products. His school will also receive 10 laptops and 10 Hynet Modems from MTN while his teacher will be awarded the sum of N350,000 cash with a laptop alongside. You can relive the action from the 2021 MTN mPulse on Youtube