The Perse School

Linguistic skills earn Perse pupil UK call-up for International Olympiad

26 Apr 2018

Hari Prasad (Year 11) is celebrating being invited to compete for the UK at the International Olympiad for Linguistics this summer.

He will be part of a four-strong team representing the country in Prague in July in an event testing the ability of competitors to decipher puzzles compiled in a range of  languages.

Hari has already come through two rounds of the United Kingdom Linguistic Olympiad and was selected for the team following his results in the latter stage, which involved a three-hour exam at Reading University.

He said: “I’m really excited. It’s strange to think I’m going to be representing the UK, which will be the biggest thing I’ve ever done. I’m really looking forward to going to Prague. It will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to meeting people from other countries.”

As well as learning French, German and Latin, Hari’s language skills also extend to Chinese, Irish Gaelic and Sanskrit – an ability he believes helps with solving linguistics problems.

He said: “I just find it fun. It’s a great feeling when you spend an hour on a problem and you finally get somewhere with it, but with languages in general when you get to talk to people in their language, it’s just amazing.

Hari is hopeful both he and the British team can do themselves justice at the International Olympiad with the UK having won team gold last year.

As a team, they will have four hours to solve just one question, while in the individual tournament, Hari and his fellow competitors will have to crack five codes within a six-hour time limit.

Hari added: “I told myself before the competition that my goal was to get to this stage, but now I’ve got here I don’t want to let the team down because they’ll be looking for two golds in a row.”

Listen to Hari explain more about the challenges of linguistics competitions and why he enjoys taking part in them.

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