Is It ‘Borinqueño’ or ‘Borinqueno’? The National Spelling Bee Probably Can’t Answer That Question

May 31, 2019
9:43 AM

Hey, before you claim that we are crapping on last night’s National Spelling Bee. (We aren’t—congrats to all the eight champions!), we just want to raise one point that @Onemizgy that tagged us on. As his tweet explains:

We are going to be honest: it was cool to see a word like “Boriqueño” being used at the National Spelling Bee, but @Onemigzy is right: the letters “n” and “ñ” are not the same. They are different letters and quite frankly, the letter “ñ” is pronounced “enye.”

Others had reactions too:

We did tweet Scripps this morning about why the judges said the word was spelled correctly:

The Spelling Bee rules try to address the question but in the case of “ñ,” that mark completely makes it a different letter that is pronounced differently?

Pronouncer Errors: The judges compare the pronouncer’s pronunciation with the diacritical markings in the word list. If the judges feel that the pronouncer’s pronunciation does not match the pronunciation specified in the diacritical markings, the judges will direct the pronouncer to correct the error as soon as it is detected.

Apparently, the Scripps judges might have never seen Project Eñye either:

Listen, we know this is not serious, but we did find it interesting. And in the end, one should always #RespectTheÑ.