Linguistic Competition

Radford students' linguistic skills on show

Radford students' linguistic skills on show

By Rhiannon Richards, Languages Teacher 

Early this year, small groups of Radford students in Years 9 to 12 began to attend lunchtime practice sessions for OZCLO 2020 (the Australian Computational Linguistics Olympiad). This international competition has been running for a number of years. We are fortunate, here in Canberra, to have the ACT entry coordinated by the ANU.

A few weeks into term, nearly sixty students headed off to the ANU, on a rainy afternoon, to pit their wits against many problems in mainly unknown languages, over two hours. This team-based activity tends to appeal to people who like cracking codes.  

After a couple of nail-biting weeks, we discovered that Radford had 5 teams which were placed in the Gold category. Of these, three were through to the next, national round. Two were senior teams from Years 11 and 12. The third team comprised four Year 9 students, who were competing for the first time. 

However, before we could arrange to sit this next round of the competition, we found ourselves learning from home. Fortunately, the organisers were able to offer us some flexibility. So, upon our return to school, these three teams stayed back after school to tackle even more demanding language puzzles. On this occasion, we did not make it to the international round, however, we learnt many new things along the way and had fun doing so.  

Congratulations to all the participants and the finalists (in alphabetical order):


Michael Anufriiev

Ted Birmingham

Michael Guthrie

Semele Haynes

Oliver Johnstone

Enling Liao


Zoe Macintosh

Kate Miller

Caleb Mein

Poppy Munro-Mobbs

Aurora Sookdeo

Sarah Zhang


A big “thank you” to the organisers and markers at the ANU. We look forward to some familiar and new faces from Years 9 to 12 participating in the 2021 OZCLO competition.

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