Mansfield students win linguistics honour

The most complex of problems proved little problem for gifted students from Brisbane’s Mansfield State High School, winners of the Queensland round at this year’s Sixth Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, organised by Griffith University.


Mansfield was one of five teams in last week’s state final after 98 schools participated in an online regional round early this month. Featuring students from Years 9-12, more than 300 teams competed nationwide, with 263 teams participating in the online regional round competition run through Griffith University, with support from University of Queensland.


Other schools to make the Queensland final, held at Griffith’s Southbank campus, were Indooroopilly State High, the Queensland Academy of Science, Maths and Technology, Brisbane State High and the Gold Coast’s All Saints Anglican College.


Dr Andrea Schalley, chair of the Queensland organising committee and Senior Lecturer at Griffith’s School of Languages and Linguistics, said the Olympiad attracted students with a keen interest in languages, mathematics or computing who thrived on the challenge of problem analysis and solving.


“The set problems may comprise challenges ranging from the use of Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Braille alphabet to language dissection, encoding and decoding,” Dr Schalley said.


“It’s all about the students having fun but there are invaluable educational elements to be drawn as well, among them an appreciation of the diversity of world languages – there are between 6500 and 7000 still living languages — conveying an understanding of Linguistics and the work of linguists and celebrating human language as a phenomenon.”


The overall winner of the national Olympiad will be announced in coming weeks and will be eligible to take on the world at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Manchester, United Kingdom, later this year