FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 22, 2009EDITORIAL CONTACT: Dr. Aleka Blackwell, 615-898-5960
LINGUISTICS OLYMPIAD AT MTSU LIGHTS THE WAY FOR LANGUAGE
Challenging Competition Prods Students to Learn Word Origins, Speech Patterns
(MURFREESBORO) – Middle-school and high-school students who have a way with words will vie to determine verbal supremacy in the Third Annual Linguistics Olympiad at MTSU on Saturday, Jan. 31, on the second floor of the Business and Aerospace Building. More than 80 students representing eight schools in the region are enrolled in junior and senior levels of competition. Teams may consist of up to four students each. The schools represented include Blackman Middle, Christiana Middle, Greenway Middle, Blackman High, Riverdale High, Siegel High, La Vergne High and Ravenwood High.
Traditional challenges in the Olympiad include such exercises as identifying the word formation of a foreign language based on the information presented, deciphering proverbs from other languages, finding commonalities among English words, and decoding cryptic messages.
“During the competition, Dr. Mohammed Albakry (MTSU associate professor of English) will host a workshop for teachers on incorporating linguistics into middle- and high-school language teaching,” says Dr. Aleka Blackwell, associate professor in the MTSU Department of English, which has organized this free event. “Following the competition, we have organized fun activities for the students while judges are scoring, including Swahili 101, Word Games and Psycholinguistic Experiments.” Several MTSU faculty from the departments of English, Psychology and Speech and Theatre have volunteered their time to create competition problems and/or serve as judges, notes Blackwell. To learn more and for access to links with fun and challenging sample linguistics problems that you can work, go to www.mtsu.edu/linguisticsolympiad.