As Team Ireland departs Ireland for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Brazil, four young Irish language code-breakers have proved themselves among the world’s best problem solvers at the Linguistics Olympiad in Mysore, India. The Irish secondary school students, sponsored and tutored by the Science Foundation Ireland funded ADAPT Centre, have won a bronze medal and two Honourable Mention awards at the event, which concluded on 29 July 2016.
Claire O’Connor (17) of St Louis High School, Rathmines, Dublin beat off competition from 180 competitors from 30 countries to secure a bronze medal. Dónal Farren (17) of St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, Co Donegal and Pádraig Sheehy (16) of Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin won Honourable Mention awards. Just outside the awards was Richard Neville (18) of St Andrew’s College, Booterstown, Dublin.
The International Linguistics Olympiad challenges students to apply logic, computational thinking and problem-solving skills to solve some of the world’s most complex problems in linguistics and language. This year’s contest saw the Irish team members find their way around maps written in the Aralle-Tabulahan language of Indonesia, decipher Luwian Hieroglyphics, and decode expressions in the Iatmül language of Papua New Guinea.
The Irish team representatives were selected on the basis of their strong performances at the ADAPT All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) in March 2016 at Trinity College Dublin. More than 4,000 students from secondary schools in 29 counties competed in this year’s Irish finals. AILO is a key element of ADAPT’s Problem-Solving Initiative (www.problemsolving.ie), a nationwide initiative which aims to enhance the Irish public’s problem-solving skills.
It was revealed in India on Friday (29 July 2016) that the ADAPT Centre has bid successfully to host the International Linguistics Olympiad 2017 at Dublin City University from 31 July to 4 August 2017.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympiad in India, Laura Grehan, Irish team leader and Education and Public Engagement Manager at ADAPT said:
“The strong performance of the Irish team at the International Linguistics Olympiad 2016 is evidence of how the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad is helping to hone Irish students’ lateral thinking and problem-solving skills. The ADAPT Centre looks forward to hosting more than 350 people – contestants, jury members, team leaders and observers – from over 30 nations at the International Linguistics Olympiad 2017 in Dublin next summer.”
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