Dr. Brian Mark Sietsema, who holds a doctorate degree in linguistics, have been selected to serve as the pronouncing team for the Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
Sietsema, 40, is an ordained preist of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is currently serving a parish in Lansing, Mich. He received an undergraduate degree in religious studies from the University of Michigan in 1985 and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. His doctoral dissertation was on African tone languages.
Sietsema has taught at the University of Michigan and served from 1990 to 1998 as pronunciation editor for Merriam-Webster. He was responsible for checking the pronunciation of all 180,000 words published in the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and oversaw the pronunciation of audio entries for the CD-ROM version. He also researched pronunciations for Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature and Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Third Edition. Sietsema joined the staff of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in 1998 as a writer for the Office of the Archbishop. He was ordained a preist in the Greek Orthodox Church in 2000.