About the TOL

Our Contributors

The TOL is not yet a regular event. Past faculty contributors have generously dedicated their time to our effort. If you are interested in TOL, we welcome your participation!

Faculty Members

  • Shu-kai Hsieh - National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Linguistics
  • Victoria Rau - National Chung Cheng University Institute of Linguistics, the Linguistics Society of Taiwan (LST)
  • Suying Hsiao - Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan Linguistic Society
  • Cheng-Yu Hsieh - PhD Candidate, National Taiwan Unviersity Graduate Institute of Linguistics
  • Sheng-Chang Huang - 2016 IOL Silver Medalist
  • Jun-Hsung Wu - National Chung Cheng University Institute of Linguistics


  • Naiwen Chang - 2017 TOL Contributor
  • Yichen Yeh - 2017 TOL Contributor
  • Alexander Huang - Website and System Development
  • Yujun Yang - 2016 TOL Contributor
  • Joy Chiang - 2016 & 2017 TOL Contributor

What is the TOL?

The Taiwan Olympiad in Linguistics (TOL) is a contest for secondary school students in solving linguistic puzzles. These puzzles require only logical ability, patient work and the willingness to think around corners. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is required. Students learn more about the knowledge of world languages and improve their abilities of observation, logic and awareness of diversity while solving problems involving language data. Everyone is welcome to give it a try to explore the wondrous realm of language and experience its gems.

How did the TOL come to be?

The first Olympiad competition in linguistics held for secondary school students was held in 1965 in Moscow, thanks to the efforts of Alfred Zhurinsky (1938 - 1991). Thereafter, other than Russia, a number of countries and states, including Bulgaria, Oregon in the US, and the Netherlands, all hosted similar events. As more and more players participated in competitions all around the world, the concept of an International Olympiad in Linguistics came into being in 2002, with the first IOL being held in 2003 in Bulgaria. Countries that participated include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Russia. Starting in 2003, the International Olympiad in Linguistics was held annually in different cities, and the number of participating countries and participating students gradually increased.

However, it was not until 2013 when the first Taiwanese student took part in the competition. With the generous help of Taiwanese people from all walks of life, Taiwan's IOL team was finally accredited, joining the growing list of participating nations in the IOL. In 2015, Taiwan's sole participating student won a Bronze medal and a Best Solution award. According to the regulations of the IOL, each participating nation must hold a nationwide competition to select participants. On the basis of these regulations, we worked to establish the Taiwan Olympiad in Linguistics (TOL). In 2016, the first TOL was held in Taipei, and continues to this day. How many TOLs will be held in the future? And will we continue? We don't know yet. Therefore, if you have any interest at all, take action now and register! Don't be shy -- join us now!

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