In the World

Word Masters on Our Shores

Napur Lala, a 14-year-old girl from Tampa, Florida, approached the microphone at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, anxiously awaiting her word. The judge said it, “logorrhea,” and gave her the definition—incessant talking. After writing it with her index finger on the palm of her other hand, Lala quickly spelled it out loud, and jumped for joy when the judge told her it was correct. An Indian American, she had just won the 1999 spelling bee—an invention as American as apple pie—and started a trend.