Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ask a linguist!

Got a question about languages and linguistics? Is Tamil indeed the ancestor of all human tongues? What is a grammar, really? How does Google Translate really work? Why not ask a linguist?

Here's two places where you can turn:

Scientists are curious people interested in advancing our knowledge about the world, and that is done by asking questions and searching for information. So, come join us in asking questions!

Former or prospective participants of the IOL are of course interested in continuing their interest in linguistics and there are plenty of different kinds of popular science material freely available on the internet (like the Linguistics Podcast, The Virtual Linguistics Campus or Diversity Linguistics Comment) and there are of course also lots of appropriate literature. But what to do when you have a question that you need answering and that you can't find the answer to - or don't even know where to start looking? Why, you ask of course!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All problems from IOL 2014 are up!

All the problems from the 12th International Linguistics Olympiad that took place in Beijing this July 2014 are now up on the official IOL-website!

The problem set is multilingual, as it has been since the start in 2003. This year we have 16 different languages: Bulgarian Czech, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Latvian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Ukrainian.

We are, as always, extremely grateful to and impressed by the Problem Committee and the Jury. This year we have these brave souls to thank: Jae Kyu Lee (chair), Aleksejs Peguševs, Alexander Piperski, Artūrs Semeņuks, Boris Iomdin, Bozhidar Bozhanov, Bruno L’Astorina, Daniel Rucki, Dmitry Gerasimov, Elitsa Milanova, Esther Sheynkman,  Gabrijela Hladnik, Hugh Dobbs, Ivan Derzhanski, Ksenia Gilyarova, Liudmila Fedorova, Maria Rubinstein, Milena Veneva, Pavel Sofroniev, Renate Pajusalu, Stanislav Gurevich, Todor Tchervenkov and  Wei Wang

The problems are not written wholly in one language, but in a kind of “solvers". If you want to read more about how that works, read this:

Derzhanski, Ivan (2013) Multilingual Editing of Linguistic Problems, In Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Teaching NLP and CL August 2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Association for Computational Linguistics 27–34 

Ivan Derzhanski is one of the founders of the international contest, a constant member of the problem committee and jury and co-chair of the board of the IOL.

Remember, the contestants do not only receive the problem set in different languages, they also submit (in handwriting mind you) their solutions in different languages. The jury is not divided into different subsections by language, but by problem. This means that one jury member or a group of them grade all solutions for one problem, in all languages (no doubt with the help of those with more expertise in specific languages, but still). This is pretty impressive, to say the least, and something that we in the IOL are very proud of.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Testing that all channels are working

This is a test to see that all the channels are working nicely!

Hello everyone!

This is the official blog of the International Linguistics Olympiad. 

You can also find us at
If you want to talk about the contest anywhere, we suggest using the hashtag "ioling".

Linguistic Olympiads are science competition for students of secondary schools in lots of different countries, they all compete in there national contests and then we all meet in the summer for the big international competition. This years contest in Beijing recently finished. The problems are all based on insights of linguistics,  - why don't you just have a look-se
It's a very cool contest, one of the cool things about it is that everyone competes in different languages. The problem set and the Jury's correcting work is all multilingual. You can read more about that here.

You can learn more about the contest and see old problems at our regular web page,

The contest of 2015 will take place in Bulgaria, you can read more about the local arrangements at their official web page and Facebook page!