MTSU Competition FAQs

Who is this competition for?

This competition is for any middle or high schooler who wants to learn more about linguistics. The field of linguistics is very rewarding, but not as well known. The purpose of this competition is to expose students to the field and to allow them to practice some of the skills that linguists use. All middle or high school students who are interested in solving world puzzles, deciphering coded messages, or practicing linguistic analysis are invited to participate.  

Do my students need to know another language to compete?

Not at all! All of the information needed to solve the puzzles will be included in the problem. In solving these problems, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary.

Where is the competition held?e

The competition is in the Business and Aerospace Building on the MTSU campus

What time should I arrive on competition day?

Please arrive between 8:20 - 8:40 am to allow time to check in. The competition will begin promptly at 9:00 am. 

How do I pay the participation fee and fees for any extra (chaperone) t-shirts?

You can pay either by cash or check when you arrive. Checks should be made out to the MTSU Department of English.

I need an invoice. How can I get one?

Email to receive an invoice for your registration.

Where will we have lunch?

A cafeteria lunch will be provided for all participants and chaperones at the McCallie Dining Hall at the KUC. You can browse the menu at

Do I need to bring anything on the day of the competition?

Yes! You must bring a signed Liability and Image Release form for every student competing.

We also encourage students to bring multi-colored markers and highlighters. Dry-erase board markers will be provided to two- and four-person teams. The use of cell phones or other electronic devices is not permitted in the classrooms during the contest, so we strongly encourage students to wear a watch to keep track of time. 

How do I get to MTSU

View this information on our directions to MTSU page.

My students are really interested in linguistics. What resources can I provide to them?

The Linguistic Society of America website has some fantastic resources for those interested in learning more about careers and advancements in the field of linguistics at their website:
We encourage students to participate in the North American Computational Linguistics Open Competition (NACLO). More information about NACLO,  practice problems, suggested readings, and other resources can be found at

I have a question that isn't answered here. Who can I contact?

You can contact the competition director, Aleka Blackwell, at She or her graduate assistant will get back to you as soon as possible. 


17th Annual MTSU Linguistics Competition

Do you like . . .

…solving word puzzles?
…tackling linguistic challenges?
…deciphering coded messages?

If so, join students from across Tennessee at this year’s MTSU Linguistics Competition. 

Compete for medals and prizes, play word games, and meet other budding linguists.

When: April 20, 2024

Where: BAS Building, MTSU

Cost: $20

For safety reasons, participants and chaperones will be asked to wear face masks during the morning welcome, the break activities, and the awards ceremony. That is when a large number of people are gathered in close proximity indoors.