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Workshop on Linguistics Olympiad and Popularizing Linguistics in Schools

18th December 2013, 2pm - 5:30pm, Noida, India

In conjunction with International Conference on NLP (ICON) 2013


This half-day workshop at ICON 2013 aims to bring together the Linguistics and NLP researchers and educationists of India and discuss the state-of-the-art of linguistics education at school and undergraduate levels in the country. It will introduce the Panini Linguistic Olympiad program and associated workshops and promotional events for popularizing linguistics amongst school students at a young age and inspire the bright students to take up linguistics and NLP for higher studies.

Language and linguistics education in schools in India (as well as worldwide) is predominantly prescriptive in nature that shuns the scientific nature of the fields. This is one of the prime reasons for widespread disinterest amongst students towards (computational) linguistics. There has been a worldwide movement to popularize linguistics and computational linguistics amongst school children through various activities, the most important of those being the introduction of the International Linguistics Olympiad (ILO) in 2003 as one of the 13 Science Olympiads. India started participating in ILO since 2009, however the reach of the Panini Linguistics Olympiad (the national version of the event) has been limited, though the performance of the Indian team in ILO has been excellent (three silver, two bronze medals, several honorable mentions and best solution awards). Recently, Linguistics Department of Mumbai University, Microsoft Research India, and many other premier institutions of the country have joined hands to scale up the reach of the Olympiad program and related activities by setting up regional centers, hosting school level quizzes, competitions and other events.

This workshop is motivated by a similar workshop organized in ACL 2013: The fourth Teaching NLP/CL workshop With a Focus on Olympiads in (Computational) Linguistics.

The three primary goals of the proposed workshop are:

1. To make the NLPAI community aware of the current efforts.

2. Exchange of ideas and experiences amongst teachers, educationists and researchers on how to popularize (computational) linguistics in India, starting from primary and high school levels.

3. Identify potential volunteers and regional coordinators for further spread and deeper penetration of this awareness drive.

Tentative Program

2:00 pm - 2:05 pm  Introduction to the Workshop 
2:05 pm - 2:25 pm 

Organizer Talk: Linguistics Olympiads in India and the World

by Zarana Sarda, Program Coordinator, Panini Linguistics Olympiad

2:25 pm - 2:45 pm 

Invited Talk: Experiences from North American Computational

Linguistics Olympiad by Prof Lori Levin, CMU (Pre-recorded)

2:45 pm - 3:05 pm 

Organizer Talk: Promoting Awareness about Linguistics: Beyond Olympiads 

by Shireen Irani, EFLU Hyderabad. 

3:05 pm - 3:30 pm 

Organizer Talk: Coaching and Problem Design for Linguistics Olympiad

by Monojit Choudhury, Microsoft Research India 

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm  Coffee Break     
4:00 pm - 4:15 pm  

Invited Talk: Problem Design for North American Computational Linguistics

Olympiad by Prof Dragomir Radev, University of Michigan (Pre-recorded)

4:15 pm - 5:15 pm 

Panel Discussion:  State of Linguistics and Computational Linguistics Education

in India.


    Kalika Bali, Microsoft Research India

    Prof Pushpak Bhattacharya, IIT Bombay

    Prof Sandipan Dandapat, IIT Guwahati

    Prof Girish Nath Jha, JNU

    Prof Ayesha Kidwai, JNU

    Prof Rajeev Sangal, IIT BHU

    Prof K. V. Subbarao, Delhi University (retired)


5:15 pm - 5:30 pm  Closing and General Discussion 

Information for Participants

This half-day workshop will be held on 18th Dec 2013 in the afternoon (2:00pm - 5:30pm). If you wish to attend this workshop, please register through the ICON website. Information regarding the venue, accommodation, etc. are also available in the main conference website. For any other information or query regarding the workshop, please contact us directly.


monojitc AT Microsoft DOT com & zsarda AT gmail DOT com


  • Avinash Pandey, Dept. of Linguistics, Mumbai University
  • Monojit Choudhury, Microsoft Research India
  • Zarana Sarda, Program Coordinator, Panini Linguistics Olympiad

Program Committee

  • A. Kumaran, Microsoft Research India
  • Anupam Basu, IIT Kharagpur & SNLTR Kolkata
  • Asif Ekbal, IIT Patna
  • Girish Nath Jha, JNU, New Delhi
  • Indranil Dutta, EFLU Hyderabad
  • Kalika Bali, Microsoft Research India
  • Renuka Ozarkar, University of Mumbai
  • Sandipan Dandapat, IIT Guwahati
  • Shakuntala Mahanta, IIT Guwahati
  • Shireen Irani, EFLU Hyderabad
  • Sibansu Mukhopadhyaya, SNLTR Kolkata
  • Tirthankar Dasgupta, IIT Kharagpur