Ben Piché has written to let us know that the 2011 International Linguistics Olympiad, hosted this year by the USA, at CMU in Pittsburgh, is getting underway. Ben, one of our UMass linguistics alumni, is presiding over the admissions desk at the IOL (note the international word-order). Ben writes:
We're still setting up here on campus, and the competition hasn't formally begun yet, but we're hard at work scheduling programs and activities for the participants. We hope that this will be the best IOL yet!
I would add: it will be good for everyone interested in language and linguistics to help find ways to alert as many high school students as possible to the existence of the Olympiad and to encourage them to participate — it's a great way for young people to find out about the existence of linguistics and have challenging fun in the process. For those in North America, the sponsor is NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Their site has information about the most recently completed Olympiad and general information about participating.
Cool fact #1: The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) won the Linguistics Society of America's Linguistics, Language, and the Public award for 2011.
Cool fact #2: In Aleksandr Kibrik's 'How I became a linguist' essay written for his Linguist-of-the-day appearance in this year's Linguist List fund drive, you can read about the origins of the Linguistic Olympiad in Moscow in 1965.