With the aim of escalating attention to language and linguistics in the Asia Pacific region, the Asia Pacific Linguistics Olympiad (APLO) has been held every year since 2019. Last year, a total of 213 contestants participated in 14 testing sites simultaneously, representing 8 countries/regions. Additionally, 7 guest countries outside the Asia-Pacific region were invited and participated in the contest.

We, the Board of APLO, are eager to keep pushing this initiative forward and are hereby inviting you to join this international collaboration of educating young and brilliant minds around the Asia-Pacific region by participating in our fifth Olympiad, to be held on the 9th of April, 2023.

APLO is not a contest where students from different countries physically meet in one place to participate in the competition. Instead, problem sets will be distributed to the local organizing committees of the participating countries or regions beforehand, and all contestants will compete in their home countries on the same day. Detailed plans have been drawn up as below.

Regional Delegations

We would like to invite the countries or regions to participate in APLO 2023, that

(a) are part of the Asia-Pacific region, and

(b) have either participated or have shown interest in participating in the APLO or IOL in the past.

Any country or region from outside the Asia Pacific region will be welcomed to take part in APLO 2023 as a guest country.

Contest Format

The contest is a one-day paper-based contest, with individuals competing within their home countries. There is no team contest. The contest will run for five hours, where contestants are asked to solve five problems featuring languages and linguistics.

  • Each delegation must run one or more official contest site(s) that is/are fully supervised by the invigilator(s) designated by the local organizers. All contestants must sit the contest at one of the official contest sites.
  • Local organizers are free to choose the number of candidates participating in APLO as a part of their delegation. However, only the top eight competitors from each delegation will be awarded and recorded as official participants (the process of selecting the top eight candidates is described later in this letter).
  • Contestants are eligible for the APLO if and only if they are eligible for the IOL in the same year.


Each delegation has the right to claim one local language to be added to the official languages of the APLO, with responsibilities to (i) recommend a member to the International Jury, who has the competence of translating problems into the claimed language and (ii) have Local Jury with ability to grade the submissions written in the claimed language. Every contestant, no matter which region they represent or are sitting in for the contest, has the right to choose a working language among all official languages of the APLO and solve problems in it. There is no advantage or disadvantage in choosing English as a working language.

Accreditation Criteria for Local Organizers

Countries or regions seeking to participate for the first time should seek accreditation from the International Board. Accreditation can be sought at any time, but the deadline of January 31st must be met to guarantee participation in the upcoming APLO.

To be accredited, Local Organizers should either (a) be local organizers of a country or region that is accredited by the IOL or (b) fulfil the following criteria:

  • must not be an individual;
  • have a general contact for local inquiries (an email address, and, preferably, a website or social media page);
  • have at least one person (coordinator) who arranges the contest and serves as a point of contact with the board and at least one person (jury) who can translate the problems and mark the papers and send back to the International Jury;
  • advertise the contest to a non-negligible number of students, and report the results to the board. (If the country or region has a first round before the APLO, they should mention the APLO on the notice of their national contest.)

Guest Countries

Countries or regions from outside the Asia Pacific region are welcome to take part in APLO 2023 as a guest country. Local Organizers of guest countries should meet the same criteria of accreditation and apply before the same deadline. The differences between fully participating countries and guest countries follow:

  • contestants are given certificates of participation but not awards;
  • contests must start during or after the official starting time slot of APLO.

Bodies of the APLO

Below are the bodies that constitute the APLO, and their responsibilities.

  • International Board
    • establishes and amends constitutions of the APLO
    • internationally coordinates the competition
    • accredits the delegations
    • shall be (re-)elected every year, at the annual meeting
  • International Jury
    • creates the problem set in all official languages
    • collects the results reported by Local Jury and awards contestants
  • Local Organizers
    • represent the delegation and locally coordinates the competition – advertise the APLO in the region they represent
    • distribute certificates after the results are published
  • Local Jury
    • marks the submissions and reports the scores to the International Jury

International Board of the APLO

  • Minkyu Kim, General chair
  • Monojit Choudhury, Member
  • Rujul Gandhi, Member
  • Shu-Kai Hsieh, Member
  • Simona Klemenčič, Public Relations Chair
  • Vlad A. Neacșu, International Jury Chair
  • Suhaimi Ramly, Member

Timeline of APLO 2023

By the end of January 2023: Each delegation in the region should apply for accreditation. The International Board will accredit the delegations and finalize the list of participating delegations in the APLO of that year.

Second week of March: International Jury distributes the multilingual versions of the problem set.

9th of April 2023 (Sunday): The APLO is held in each testing site.

10th of April 2023 (Monday): International Jury distributes the multilingual versions of the solution and the grading scheme. The Local Jury must start grading the submissions as soon as possible and send the results to International Jury along with the scanned copies of up to top thirteen submissions within seven days.
International Jury confirms the scores of the top thirteen submissions from each delegation and awards medals to the top eight candidates (see below for awarding scheme).

By the end of April: International Jury notifies the results to local organizers. Local Organizers create the certificates in the format prescribed by APLO and distribute them in any manner — physical or digital — they deem appropriate. The announcement of the results should be scheduled under the consensus of all participating local organizers as well as the Board.

During the IOL: Annual meeting of the APLO is held.

Awarding Scheme

After judging is complete, the top eight contestants from each delegation will be counted as the delegation’s official participants.

  • Let m and s be the mean and the standard deviation of all official participants.
    • m + s is the cut-off score for Gold medals;
    • m is the cut-off score for Silver medals;
    • m − s is the cut-off score for Bronze medals.
  • Maximum number of the medals within the delegation:
    • Gold ≤ 1;
    • Gold + Silver ≤ 4;
    • Gold + Silver + Bronze ≤ 8.
  • Official participants who have not received any medal will be awarded Honourable Mentions.

The International Board of APLO