UKLO needs problems

  • 19 Oct 2011 09:05
    Message # 726621
    Dear Colleague,

    As you probably know, the UK now has a very successful Linguistics Olympiad running in its schools, with over a thousand contestants this year and probably several thousand next year. (For more information, LAGB is a major sponsor, and we on the UKLO committee appreciate not only the funding, but also the moral support. But the success of the project depends entirely on the quality of the problems, which obviously have to be renewed every year. This is an area where we depend heavily on help from university colleagues.

    We're part of a consortium of English-speaking countries that have national olympiads (USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK), which shares test material, and which has supplied most of our problem material so far. But we're no longer new arrivals so it's time we contributed more to this consortium, and in any case we have a special need for very easy problems that we can use with 11- or 12-year olds (where we've managed to recruit large numbers), a level that other countries in the consortium don't (yet) target.

    Most LAGB members have the specialist knowledge that's needed for 'classic' olympiad problems, which involve data from unfamiliar languages; but we're always looking for alternative formats, and it's easy to imagine problems from English, or from psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and so on.

    If you're interested in helping, first have a look at some of the recent UKLO questions (which you'll find at, and decide whether you might be able to create something similar (or, of course, imaginatively different). If you think you'd like to join the project, send me an email (A@B where A = dick and B = with a little background information about yourself and (ideally, but not necessarily) a brief description of an idea that you might develop. As a member of the problem-creation team you'll not only work on your own problem but also comment on other members' drafts (and, of course, get support from other members). It's not an open-ended commitment - you can let it take as much time or as little as you want.

    With best wishes, Dick Hudson
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