MORGANTOWN — There are currently more than 1 million words in the English vocabulary, and more than a few owe their origins to Latin and Old English.
Mahnoor Jafri and Pearl Zhang can tell you that.
Ditto for Pratham Bhanushali.
Lauren Shen will also attest to the above.
And Carter Herron? Heck, he can talk about it all day.
Except the above five weren’t talking Tuesday night in the auditorium of South Middle School.
They were spelling their way to the top trophies at the 2019 Mon County Schools Spelling Bee.
Mon’s Bee is a local opening act to the venerable Scripps National Bee, which will be held in March in the Washington, D.C., area.
They were among 42 of Mon’s top spellers in grades 5-8 that competed in earlier competition — spellers from St. Francis Central Catholic and Trinity Christian were also included — for the chance to appear Tuesday at South.
The winning five will now advance to the north-central West Virginia regional tournament next month at Fairmont State University to see who gets a shot at the 92nd annual Scripps event.
Carter, a South Middle eighth-grader, did just that last year, hanging in until the third round.
Lauren, Pratham and Pearl represented Suncrest Middle School in the Bee. Mahnoor goes to North Elementary.
Since Carter knows what the big, big stage is like, was he nervous in the familiar climes of his school?
“Oh, yeah,” he said, laughing. “I’m always nervous. I definitely know how to spell that.”
Well, that, and a bunch of other words, besides.
Collectively, the quintet dispatched “cooperage” and “clique,” “penitent” and “portentously” — words you think you know how to spell until you try them on the fly.
Oh, yeah. “Ichor,” too.
You know: Ichor. The ethereal stuff taking the place of blood in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
And those were just in the opening rounds.
Which is why every one of the five asked the bee’s official pronouncer, Paige Muendel, a teacher in Mon County Schools, to please repeat the word.
And give the definition.
And country of origin.
And to use it in a sentence. You know — just because.
“Hey, I was nervous,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to mispronounce one of these. It’s the Spelling Bee.”