Flag-waving for the UKLO

I’ve recently finished marking scripts for this year’s UKLO (United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad), a national linguistics competition for school-age students. The competition paper contains a series of linguistic data problems which students tackle in their own schools. The most successful students then have a chance to compete for a place in the UK’s team for the International Linguistics Olympiad.

I’ve been a volunteer UKLO marker for several years, and I’m happy to be involved even in this small way. The competition gives students a taste of real linguistics, which involves analytical thinking and problem-solving; for some students it might be the first time they have seen language in this way. I was particularly pleased to read the educational rationale on the UKLO site emphasising the link between linguistics and maths – university departments offering linguistics degrees, please take note!