IOL 2011: Venue

The 9th International Linguistics Olympiad will be held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dates and Times

These dates and times are preliminary.

Day 1 (Mon, July 25): Opening Ceremony

Day 2 (Tues, July 26): Individual Contest (6 hours long.)

Day 3 (Wed, July 27): Outing/Grading Day

Day 4 (Thurs, July 28): Team Contest (4 hours)

Day 5 (Fri, July 29): Closing Ceremony, Possible Departures

Day 6:(Sat, July 30) Departures


Contestants will stay in the Carnegie Mellon student dormitories. CMU dormitories are relatively spacious and well-appointed

Most rooms will be connected to some other rooms in big suites: most are two double rooms, one single room per suite, with a shared bath in the suite.

There are some individual singles, but not very many. The lounge area of each suite has a refrigerator and microwave. Linens and towels are included, but there are no hair dryers, alarm clocks or televisions provided.

Participants will be given rooms in suites with their team members.


Carnegie Mellon University is situated in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. The academic and cultural center of Pittsburgh and one of the city's most walkable neighborhoods, Oakland is home to three universities and many of the city's historical and cultural attractions.

Of particular note is the massive Carnegie cultural complex, adjacent to the CMU campus, containing two museums, a concert hall, and library. Pittsburgh boasts a surprising wealth of high-culture institutions, a legacy of 19th century Titans of Industry such as Andrew Carnegie, and also actual dinosaur skeletons (not casts), a legacy of the fact that 19th century Titans of Industry thought that dinosaurs were awesome.


Oakland is among the safest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It is still an urban environment, however, and contestants should exercise the caution and judgment appropriate for a city.

Getting Around

Pittsburgh is served by Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), which is one hour from Carnegie Mellon University by bus. Specifically, the 28X airport shuttle travels between CMU and the airport, with one shuttle departing each half hour (20 minutes and 50 minutes past the hour).

Public transit in Pittsburgh is primarily through buses. The bus system is relatively straightforward, but note the idiosyncratic fare system: if your bus is bound into the Downtown business district, you pay the fare when you get on the bus, but if your bus is headed outbound, you pay the fare when you get off. (This system is meant to minimize delays at the busy Downtown stops.)

Taxis are not especially common; they can be ordered, but you cannot usually just step into the street and hail one.

Within Oakland itself, contestants will probably have little need for public transportation, as every place of interest is within walking distance.

About Pittsburgh

A former industrial center of the U.S., the "Steel City" has not actually produced steel in several decades. The largest and most visible industry in modern-day Pittsburgh is medicine, employing roughly 10% of city residents. Education is another particularly visible Pittsburgh industry, with two major research universities in the city and five other universities of varying size.

These universities played a major role in the city's rebirth after the decline of American heavy industry in the 1970s and 1980s. The presence of major research centers in technology (CMU) and medicine (University of Pittsburgh) allowed the city to reinvent itself as a high-tech center known for its robotics and biotech.

Major religions in the city include Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Football.

The City of Pittsburgh proper is a relatively small city, although roughly 2 million people in the surrounding area refer to themselves as Pittsburghers. Many Pittsburghers speak a unique dialect of English, "Pittsburghese". Keep an ear out for: