Watch U.S student win $40,000 in contest after spelling Greek word! (video)

“Koinonia” was the clinching word

Karthik Nemmani, a soft-spoken eighth-grader from McKinney, Texas, hadn’t been to the National Spelling Bee before, but he had already been in a battle with 12-year-old Naysa Modi.

In their county spelling bee, Naysa won, but Thursday, Karthik came out on top — successfully navigating through words like “aver,” “paucispiral,” “ankyloglossia,” “haecceitas” and finally “koinonia” to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The Greek word “koinonia” — most commonly pronounced “koy-nuh-NEE-uh” — is defined as “intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.”
When asked whether having Naysa, who is from Frisco, and other friends at the national finals helped, the unassuming Karthik said: “Yeah, I guess.”
He smiled, and added, “I guess it gave me a little more confidence.”
When asked at what point he knew he could spell the winning word, the 14-year-old said to laughter: “When I heard it.”
Spellers typically ask for clues such as language of origin, alternate pronunciations and what part of speech the word is.
Naysa, who prepared her answers by miming as though typing on a keyboard, finished second after incorrectly spelling “Bewusstseinslage,” leaving out the second S.
Thursday’s finals went 18 rounds.
Karthik wins $40,000 in cash, a trophy, encyclopedias and $2,500 savings bond.

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