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Cork student Philip to show off his linguistic prowess

Thursday, 3rd August, 2017 9:05am

Most of us can barely manage one language, but Philip Krause, a 17 year old student at Ashton School in Blackrock, is competing this week at the 2017 International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL).

The Olympiad, which this year is taking place at Dublin City University, began on 31 July and will conclude on 4 August.

The Olympiad is an annual competition where young people compete to solve linguistic puzzles. Past years have seen competitors decipher little-spoken or expired languages, including Sanskrit, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Jaqaru, a language spoken among indigenous tribes of the Andes.

The competition does not require previous knowledge of linguistics. Rather, it tests student's logical abilities and problem-solving skills. The Olympiad's aim is to engage students in field that combine computing, linguistics and language.

Krause is one of an eight-member team representing Ireland. 44 teams representing 29 countries are competing at tis year's event, with all entrants between the ages of 14 and 19. The goal of competitors is to wn a gold medal for their country and/or an individual medal for their problem-solving abilities.

Ireland's team members were chosen based on the results of the All-Ireland Linguistics Olympiad. The team's members competed against 4,000 students nationwide to qualify for the international competition.

Said Krause: "I'm looking forward to representing my country in the International Linguistics Olympiad, and meeting new people from around the country and the world. I was told about the Olympiad by a friend of one of last year's tam, as well as this year's, and it sounded interesting and fun.

“I’ve lost many evenings to (solving) past problems and they have always been quite interesting, as when one does a problem, they might come across something that allows them to make links between completely different languages.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, welcomed students to the competition: “The IOL brings together some of the best young problem solvers and creative thinkers from across the globe. Science Foundation Ireland are delighted to welcome the competitors and their families to Dublin. Problem solving and lateral thinking are vital skills for a wide range of careers, especially in science and technology," she said. 

Ireland’s participation in the contest is a key part of the Problem-Solving Initiative, a two-year effort run by ADAPT and funded by the Science Foundation Ireland to create a new generation of problems solvers and prepare future leaders in STEM fields.

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