Territory students will pit their linguistic and logic skills against the nation’s best at the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad at Charles Darwin University this week.
CDU linguist and event organiser Cathy Bow said this was the first time that Northern Territory students have had the opportunity to be involved in the competition, which began in 2008.
“The regional round earlier this month saw 260 teams from around Australia, compete for a place in the national final, including 19 NT teams representing five schools,” Ms Bow said.
“Teams had to solve puzzles in a range of languages, including the ancient Phoenician writing system, Quechua poetry, English grammar, Indonesian, Swahili, Pali, and Kwak’wala an indigenous language of Canada.
“This week, the top five NT teams will compete in the national round for the opportunity to represent Australia at the 11th International Linguistics Olympiad, to be held in Manchester in the UK in July.”
Ms Bow said the team-based national competition was for secondary school students keen to learn about languages, logic, pattern recognition and problem-solving and would challenge students to solve problems in fascinating real languages.
“Many people who only speak English see language learning as difficult, but in fact multilingualism is the norm around the world,” she said.
“Knowing another language, or simply understanding how languages work, can expand the horizons and help people understand more about culture, people and the world.
“This competition is a great opportunity for students to grapple with some of the interesting and challenging aspects of language.”
The top four senior teams and top junior team will compete in the national round of the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad tomorrow (Tuesday 26 March) at CDU’s Casuarina campus. The teams will represent Darwin High School, Essington International Senior School and Palmerston Senior College.