Sunday 9 June 2013

My Experiences at the Panini Linguistics Olympiad Camp

Hi Everyone,

So I am finally back home after having attended the Panini Linguistics Olympiad Camp and I have had so much fun there. In this post, instead of talking about any linguistical phenomena, I want to share my experiences with you.

So firstly, the Camp itself. For 6 days, we had a packed schedule from 9:30 AM to 6 PM which included lessons on various aspects of Linguistics, tests to decide who will be selected to represent India at the International Olympiad, and problem solving practise sessions. I don't think you want to know excruciating details of what we did in each of these sessions but the important point is, not at one instance was I bored. Because at every point of time, there was so much of information to soak up. For example, there was one time where we were trying to use the rules we learnt from Linguistics to construct missing words in the song: 'Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga' from the movie 1942: A Love Story. Then, at another point we were trying to discover how African and Native American languages frame their sentences. Discussing every thing I learnt would need much more than a single blog post, so I am afraid you will have to make do with just this.

But there was something I enjoyed even more than I enjoyed the Camp: the people. Never have I met such an interesting, and such a fun group of people in one single place. There were people with such a wide variety of interests and all of us shared a little bit of everything we knew: there were discussions of Maths, Physics and Chemistry, there were discussions on History and Languages (where I offered my two cents worth of knowledge), there were discussions on Zombies and Harry Potter, on movies, on every possible thing I could imagine. We played cards and we sang songs (albeit shyly). The thing is, with the Linguistics Olympiad, not requiring a theoretical background in Linguistics, attracts a variety of students, all of whom, while determined and eager to learn, are also looking forward to a fun time.

Because of the kind of people I met there, the most fun aspect of the Camp was the Team Problem Solving Session. Each day, we were grouped in teams of 3 or 4 and were expected to solve problems on Vietnamese, Mongolian, Bulgarian and Hawaiian. And all we were given was a bunch of text in these languages, and we had to figure out everything ourselves. Whether it be recipes for cakes written in Bulgarian, or the word for Calcium in Mongolian. Sometimes, we were able to find correct answers, sometimes we were far from it. For example, one time, we ended up with Mr. Vietnam instead of a Vietnamese-English dictionary. Don't laugh at us! It's not as stupid an assumption as it sounds.

Anyway, I am concluding this post. I apologize if it wasn't up to your expectations but I really wanted to share my experiences and this was the only place where I had a medium to. Also, if I might add, I got selected to represent India at the International Linguistics Olympiad in Manchester in July, where I hope to have an equally amazing time with three other students I met in Mumbai, and with the participants from various nations across the world.

For anyone interested in participating in the Olympiad next year, or finding out more about it, have a look here:



  1. :) . Yash, i am also very much interested in the Olympiad, can u contact me in Facebook or by mail (

  2. Hi! I'm headed to the camp this May too! Any tips on how you got into the top 4? :D

  3. hello. what is the usual cut off for plo junior round 1?