In a traditional spelling bee, young candidates progress through a tournament by competing to spell increasingly difficult words. The current rules of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the US – the world’s oldest spelling bee – dictate that contestants spell words aloud onstage within two minutes of their being called out. Contestants can enquire about a word’s definition, use in a sentence, and a few other select details to help them with context. If they misspell a word, they are eliminated one by one until a winner or co-winners are crowned in the final round.
The concept of an Emoji Spelling Bee was first introduced at San Francisco’s Emojicon gathering in November 2016. Instead of a word, contestants were presented with an idiom, parable, or phrase, and asked to provide an emoji translation of that phrase. More than 70 people entered the world’s first emoji translation competition at Emojicon, with entrants translating phrases like ‘On fleek’ into smiley faces and ideograms. One example: ‘Game of Thrones’ became ⚔️🛡🐉🌨👑🚽.
After the success of this first event, the world’s second Emoji Spelling Bee was held earlier this week, at the 2017 South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas. Hot on its heels comes the first event of its kind in Europe, taking place in Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday, March 21st.
Being organised by NudgeMoji and held at the trendy Black Sheep pub on Capel Street, the Dublin Emoji Spelling Bee promises to be an entertaining evening, with candidates being judged on the same basis of ‘parsimony, whimsy and accuracy’ by a panel featuring emerging Irish comedians. The winner will take home a prize and the title of Europe’s first ‘Emoji Champion’.
Speaking about the event, organiser Keith Broni said he hopes that ‘Our Spelling Bee, like the ones before it, will celebrate the pleasure and creativity that emoji can bring to the fore.’ Free tickets to Tuesday’s spelling bee are available via Eventbrite.