Spelling Bee: Controversy Over Spelling of Winning Word

June 3, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Spelling bee controversy: The winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Arvind Mahankali, spelled “knaidel” to win the competition.

But some linguists told the New York Times that the spelling of the word was wrong.

Linguists with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, a Manhattan-based organization that decides the correct spelling of Yiddish words, says the preferred spelling is kneydl.

Officials at Merriam-Webster, the dictionary the competition uses, told the media outlet that they used the most common variant of the word.

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