The International Linguistics Olympiad


  • The tasks for the 2nd round of the German national selection competition will be sent to the 30 students by e-mail on 16 March.
  • The first round of the German national selection competition was very well attended. A total of 150 people interested in linguistics from all federal states tried their hand at the tasks and did very well overall. (The distribution of points can be found here).
    The next round is for those who have scored at least 33 points. Altogether 30 students will be admitted to the next round. The tasks will be activated from mid-March and will be open for two weeks.
  • The first round of the German national selection competition will start on 1 February 2020, for more information see Selection Process 2020.
  • The International Linguistics Olympiad 2020 will take place from 20 to 24 July in Ventspils, Latvia.

General information

We at the Leibniz Centre for General Linguistics organise the German participation in the International Linguistics Olympiad (
The International Linguistic Olympiad is one of the more recent competitions among other better known championships such as the Mathematics or Chemistry Olympiad.

The Linguistics Olympiad tests the participants feeling for language, cultural imagination and logical-analytical skills, enabling the best results to not only be achieved by linguistically gifted students, but also generally and multiply gifted students.

The olympic competitions, which last less than a week, take place annually in different countries. They consist of individual competitions (on the day after arrival) in which five tasks have to be solved within six hours. On the following day, you are introduced to the host country and its people as well as the opposing teams. On the fourth day is reserved for the team task, where four students from one country (= one team) work together on a problem for four hours. The tasks usually consist of identifying structures (grammar) or the meaning of words/word groups from unknown languages. At times, solving the problems feels like deciphering hieroglyphics. On the last day, the award ceremony takes place followed by a party.

Germany participated from 2008-2011 and then again in 2018 and 2019.