Superfantastisch! Two youngsters through to final of German spelling bee

Springwood High School pupils Emily Riggs and Jannis Koulman have reached the national Spelling Bee

Springwood High School pupils Emily Riggs and Jannis Koulman have reached the national Spelling Bee final. Picture: Ian Burt

For non-native speakers, it can seem an intimidating language, known for its long words, umlauts and guttural sounds. But two pupils from Norfolk have certainly mastered their German vocabulary, having made it through to the national finals of a German language spelling bee.

Emily Riggs and Jannis Koulman, who both attend Springwood High School, in King's Lynn, beat more than 75,000 others in the earlier rounds of the competition organised by the Anglia Ruskin University.

They have been given a list of 200 German words to learn. In the contest, each word is said to them in English and they have to provide the spelling in German, pronouncing each letter in German. Competitors stand in front of an audience and the pupil who spells the most words in 60 seconds is crowned champion.

Emily, 12, from South Wootton, said: 'With the very long words, I break them down into parts and learn each piece.

'My favourite word in German is schlittschuhlaufen, which means skating.'

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Jannis, 11, from King's Lynn, is already fluent in Dutch, which he says has helped with memorising German words.

He said: 'I did let my nerves get in the way of previous rounds but I hope that won't happen in the final. My favourite word is 'Meerschweinchen' – it means guinea pig. I think it's a cool word.'

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Both students will be among 108 finalists to compete at the final at the Anglia Ruskin University's Cambridge campus on July 1.

Andy Johnson, head of Springwood High School, said: 'We are keen to get the children outside the classroom and taking part in extra curricular activities, whether it is sports events, the arts and even spelling bees. I wish them both the best of luck.'

West Norfolk reporter Louise Hepburn tested her German vocabulary skills alongside the spelling bee finalists.

Is your school taking part in a competition? Email

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