Millfield linguists have excelled in this year’s UK Linguistics Olympiad.
Students across the year groups have been awarded with exceptional marks in this year’s competition, in which students are required to solve linguistical data puzzles and problems. This year saw 5000 entrants into the various categories from schools and colleges around the country, with 20% of students achieving a bronze award, 10% silver and only 5% gold.
In the advanced category, Upper Sixth Maia Page achieved a silver award, tackling a variety of grammar conjugation, linguistic pattern and translation problems in the process. Maia joined Millfield in Year 9 and currently studies maths, English and Chinese at A level; she is hoping to study Law at King’s College from September.
Maia said, “The competition was very challenging. At first I was overwhelmed, and the questions seemed impossible. However, once I started a grammar conjugation question that seemed familiar, all of the other puzzles seemed to work.”
In the intermediate category, Year 11 student Pippa Charleson achieved a silver award, while Year 10 Alexander Hutchcroft was awarded bronze. They were stretched with a plethora of linguistic challenges, varying from logical and consequential reasoning to translation and decoding language patterns. Pippa joined Millfield Prep in Year 8, and is currently studying for her GCSEs in Spanish, history, geography and religious studies alongside the core subjects. Alexander has been part of the Millfield Community for 11 years since joining the reception at Millfield Pre-Prep, and studies the core subjects alongside computer science, geography, music and Spanish at GCSE.
Pippa said, “I found the Olympiad challenging as the problems we had to solve consisted of obscure languages that I hadn't even heard of. At times I had to think deeply about the logic and patterns behind the languages. I really enjoyed trying to solve them.”
Alexander said, “The Olympiad was very challenging and most of the questions took a long time to figure out. The questions weren’t just language focused, a lot of them required mathematical and computational thinking such as code breaking, at which point it was particularly helpful to call on my past experience in maths Olympiads.”
Students had been preparing for the Olympiad by completing a variety of past papers and attending school-based practice sessions. Success in Olympiad challenges bodes well for students applying to competitive courses at top universities.
Head of Languages at Millfield, Mark Nash, said “The UKLO organisers are astonished at the ability displayed by all the competitors. Even the supposedly 'easy' problems are hard, as some of the languages department teachers found when they tried to crack them. Many of our competitors also take part in the Maths Challenge, and they tell us that our problems are at least as hard as the Maths ones.”
Millfield supports its students in a large number of external competitions, including Olympiads in mathematics, physics, chemistry, linguistics and informatics, the intermediate and senior mathematics challenges and more.
Learn more about languages at Millfield here.