University Department of Linguistics to host finals of UKLO

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 16:20:00 GMT

UKLO Students 1

The Department of Linguistics is to host the second round of the United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad next weekend. From an initial entry of over 3,000 students from both public and state schools, sixteen of the country’s best young linguistics have won through to the national round of this competition.  This weekend they will undertake an intensive couple of days of tuition sessions here at the University, led by representatives from UKLO. The students range from 13 to 19, with most being over 16, and their weekend culminates in a tough 3-hour test on Sunday morning to establish which four will represent the UK at the International Linguistics Olympiad,this year taking place in Mysore, India from 25 to 29 July.

The University’s department of Linguistics has been involved in the competition for the past four years, marking papers for the first round. This year’s ‘Markathon’ was in February, and our own students were involved in the marking. “We get our students to do the quiz first before doing any marking”, says Dan McIntyre, Professor of English Language and Linguistics. “It gives them a healthy respect for the school students who come and do the test after them”.

markathon 2

Past hosts include the universities of York, Oxford and Edinburgh, so the event is certainly a prestigious one. Our lecturers are involved this weekend in organising the venues for the tuition, and the accommodation. We also give a welcome lecture on the Friday evening, to be given by Dr Rebecca Woods, Senior Lecturer in second language acquisition, and entitled “The limits of grammar”.

‌We support the event in a number of ways in addition to hosting the 2016 Olympiad. We have published two articles in Babel about the event, and have held UKLO training sessions at our regular A Level Teachers’ Days to encourage teachers to get their students involved. Our Bridge Fellow Babette Verhoeven also writes the questions for the UKLO tests.

UKLO Students 2

The UK’s involvement in this international event is comparatively recent. It was set up by Dick Hudson, Professor of Linguistics at UCL in 2009, but the worldwide event has been running since 1964 – the International Linguistics Olympiad was established in Russia and since its inception over 40 different countries have taken part.


UKLO Language as Headache (issue 2)

UKLO Language Games (issue 1)

UKLO Language Games (issue 2)

UKLO Language Games (issue 3)

UKLO Language Games (issue 4)


Back to news index - March