Yale students use international contest to build knowledge of linguistics

“Have fun” and “don’t stress about the competition” read in part the instructions to the participants in the open round of the 10th annual North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) that took place at Yale recently.

More than 50 students from middle and high schools throughout Connecticut arrived at Yale to compete in the “pencil and paper contest,” in which students use analytical skills to solve linguistic puzzles in languages that they are not familiar with and, in the course of solving the puzzles, “learn something about the structure of human language,” notes the faculty organizer Raffaella Zanuttini, professor of linguistics at Yale.