Welcome to the IOL

The IOL is one of 13 International Science Olympiads for secondary school students, and has been held annually since 2003. Each year, teams of young linguists from around the world gather and test their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in language and linguistics.

No prior knowledge of linguistics or languages is required: even the hardest problems require only your logical ability, patient work, and willingness to think around corners. Give some of our past problems a try!


From the International Board of the IOL

It is with great regret that the International Board of the IOL has to announce the cancellation of this year’s Olympiad, scheduled to take place in Latvia, July 20th-24th. This is obviously due to the ongoing global health situation.

The Board has discussed many options, including postponement to a later date, or holding an online competition, but has decided regrettably that none of these options is viable. Postponing for a few months is not possible due to the venue not being available, as well as the continuing uncertainty about the situation in the relative short term, and potential difficulties with funding. An online competition has been ruled out for practical reasons, particularly the fact that many countries have not yet been able to complete their national competitions to choose a team, and would have difficulties doing so, as well as the practical challenge of ensuring a fair competition for all involved.

We trust that, although disappointed, those who would have participated will understand the inevitability of this decision, and we hope everyone will remain safe and healthy throughout the crisis.

And some good news: the 18th IOL will take place in Ventspils, Latvia, from July 19 to July 23 2021.

See you in Ventspils!

Ivan Derzhanski (co-chair)
Stanislav Gurevich (co-chair)
Harold Somers (Secretary)
on behalf of the Board of the IOL

Click here to find out the full list of the countries/regions that have participated in the IOL.

Ventspils 2021

Ventspils, Latvia has been chosen as the host of the 18th International Linguistics Olympiad on July 19 - 23, 2021.You can find the official website here.

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