The first linguistic olympiad for secondary school students was organised in 1965 in Moscow on the initiative of Alfred Zhurinsky (1938-1991), eventually a prominent philologist but then only a fifth-year student of linguistics, and under the guidance of the mathematician Vladimir Uspensky. The Olympiad, farsightedly called Traditional since its very beginning, was regularly held at the Moscow State University from 1965 until 1982. In 1988 the Olympiad was resumed at the Moscow State Institute for History and Archives (now the Russian State University for the Humanities), and since 1989 it has been organised jointly by the two institutions. Since 1996 a mirror of Moscow's Traditional Olympiad in Linguistics has been held in Russia's northern capital by St Petersburg State University.
Linguistic contests have also been held regularly in Bulgaria since 1982, being organised by the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians and the Ministry of Education. In more recent years analogous events were launched in Oregon (US) and the Netherlands. At the same time teams of award-holders of the Moscow Olympiad in Linguistics competed successfully in Bulgaria and vice versa, which demonstrated the potential for international co-operation in this field. Thus was born the idea of the IOL.
The following table presents a summary of the participation in the first seven instalments of the IOL (2003-2013):
|2007||St. Petersburg, Russia||9||15||61|
|2008||Slanchev Bryag, Bulgaria||11||16||67|
Teams from these 35 countries have participated in at least one of the first 11 IOLs: Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic,Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Isle of Man,Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania,Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan,Turkey, UK, USA, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
Since linguistic problems depend on the solver's working language and linguistic background in a way that the problems at other science olympiads do not, the preparation of the problem set for IOL is a complex and time-consuming task, involving composition, testing and reviewing of problems in all of the Olympiad working languages – a huge task that must be done well in advance, during the twelve months preceding IOL. This is the duty of the Problem Committee. The Problem Committee is a body composed of people from different countries and institutions, whose expertise in linguistic problems has been demonstrated by authorship or experience with problem selection for established national olympiads, or high scores at past editions.
Ivan Derzhanski, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Stanislav Gurevich, Anichkov LyceumLocal Organizing
Jiang Yuqin, International Teengager Competition and Communication Center, China Education Association for International Exchange (ITCCC@CEAIE)
Program Committee Chair 2013
Stanislav Gurevich, Anichkov Lyceum
Past and Upcoming Local Organizing Chairs
Public Relations Chair
Simona Klemenčič, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Archives and Website
Patrick Littell, University of British Columbia