What if your country does not have a national Linguistics Olympiad? The following  information is provided by Simona Klemencic on behalf of the Board of the International Linguistics Olympiad; the information takes the form of a standard email that she sends to individual students or teachers from countries which do not yet have a national Linguistics Olympiad. If you do plan to start a national olympiad in your country, please tell Simona (A@B, A = klemencic.simona, B = gmail.com) so that she can tell you if anyone else is already trying to do the same!

Below in this e-mail  I’m sending you the guidelines, but please bear in mind that some of the rules are still subject to discussion by the board and may change. One thing that we find important is existence of a serious web-page to prove that your team is not an ad hoc team.

Every country is entitled to participate at the IOL under terms and conditions that you shall find downloadable from this page: http://www.ioling.org/rules/  (and are subject to change!).

It is a good idea to organize a national competition. To do this, there is a variety of ways. One is to contact a ministry of education or science or a similar organization. If there are other Olympiads in your country, linguistics can be merged with those. In Slovenia, for example, we have merged the already existing national-wide competition in logic with linguistics. In India, the team leader has a web-page where every student from India can apply for a national competition which then takes place simultaneously at several schools in the country.

I understand you are interested in organizing a national Olympiad. You might want to consider issues like who is allowed to participate etc. We’ve had (well, some countries did) some issues considering:

– people with foreign residency who study in your country;
– people with your country’s residency who study abroad;
– students on their gap year;
– adult high school students;
– home schooled students.

When in doubt, it’s a good idea to look at other Olympiad’s rules. It’s usually better to let some more people participate than to leave somebody out who might by some aspects deserve to be given a chance – but in the end these decisions are your country’s internal matter as long as they don’t violate any of the IOL rules.

According to the IOL rules, ad hoc teams (i.e. teams whose members weren’t chosen on basis on a nation-wide competition through a country linguistic Olympiad or a similar event) can be accepted as a country’s representatives – but only as an exception.

An ad-hoc team shall be considered equivalent to a team that has been selected on a basis of a national-wide contest as long as there’s no other competing team from your country whose participants would have been selected more accordingly to what is stated in the Rules. In cases of doubt the IOL board decides which team should be considered the national team after the registration closes. We are not able to issue any sort of confirmation for you at this point. It’s only after the IOL has received all the registrations that we decide which team is the official representative of a given country if this should be necessary. Should financial restrictions be made, the rules would be observed more strictly.

We don’t cover costs of transportation.

Let me remind you that you every country can send two teams to the Olympiad (but this rule might be very soon changed and participating countries restricted to one team!) in which case the costs that we cover are shared equally between the two teams, so that each team pays half price of the full cost. For one team, the accommodation and other costs are free. Some participation fee shall probably be required.

If you need linguistic problems for your competition please contact Mr Ivan Derzhanski from Bulgaria ( iad58g@gmail.com ).

You should know that we don’t normally inform people individually when the dates are known – please follow our web page  at http://www.ioling.org/ or join the mailing list at international-olympiad-in-linguistics@googlegroups.com .


Congratulations to Christine on her Olympic silver medal for the 400m!



If you’re in the Manchester area on Friday, September 9th, you’ll be very welcome to attend a two-hour session (2-4) about the UK Linguistics Olympiad. This will be part of the annual meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, but attendance at this meeting is free of conference fee. If you plan to come, please let me know, but in any case just turn up. The session will include talks by a teacher, a pupil and an academic. The details are at http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/ec/ecsessions.htm, which also gives information about location.

Best wishes, Dick


Looking for something to do with your Gifted and Talented? Want to show that languages are fun? Then why not consider entering your school in the UK Linguistics Olympiad. It’s a competition for 11-18 students, in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. It doesn’t rely on knowledge of a language but trying to find patterns in the data. Similar competitions happen in a number of other countries, though it’s only recently that they’ve taken place in English-speaking countries.

We have 2 rounds of competition in the UK and then select a team to represent the UK at the International competition. Round 1 is taken in schools any time week commencing 6th Feb 2012 and students can be entered at either foundation, intermediate or advanced level. Round 2 will be held at a UK university in late March. If you want to find out more about UKLO, enter your school for the 2012 competition or just register an interest, please fill out our new online form.

On behalf of the UKLO organising committee.


The UKLO now has revamped their site, as you can see, courtesy of Richard Littauer, Vivienne Rogers, and Dick Hudson. Please let us know if you come across any dead links, or if you can think of a way to make it better for you! We’re looking forward to the next UKLO, and hope to start registration soon.