Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Team problems of IOL 2017

It's time for the team problems of 2017! Get your mates and see if you can work this one out!

This years team problem features Indonesian and emojis. The teams in Dublin had 3 hours for 4 people to solve this problem, can you and your friends do it? Or how about attempting it solo in 12 hours :)?

We will release the solutions to the team problem in about a week, letting you have a stab at it first. Good luck!

In related news, emojis are not killing our languages - read the brillian Gretchen McCulloch laying it out here

Monday, August 28, 2017

Errors in names in IOL Hall of Fame

Lately we've had several people point out problems in the Hall of Fame of IOL, the page that tracks rare achievements among contestants and teams.  These errors always stem from multiple versions of the name of a given person. For example, one year a contestant has been listed with all middle names and another year with only the name of address. Our database of results is not able to understand that this is the same person, and therefore the person does not appear in the Hall of Fame.

If you have won more than one medal, or if all the members of your team won a medal in the individual, and your name is not listed in the Hall of Fame - please let us know.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Solutions IOL 2017 problems

The solutions to the problems of the individual contest have now been uploaded! How did you do? Let us know in the comments how well you did at solving the problems without having access to the solutions. The team problems will be released soon, hold on :)!

Bruno L'Astoria, author of problem #3 on Kimbundu, has kindly shared the slides of his presentation from Dublin. You can find them here. 

Kimbundu is an Altantic-Congo (Bantu) language of Angola. There were a lot of slaves taken from this region of Africa to Brazil for forced labour to produce goods for Europe. Brazilian Portuguese is different from European Portuguese, and there is a long discussion on the influence of different African languages on its development. Kimbundu is one of the languages that is believed to have had a significant influence on the development of Brazilian Portuguese.

Milena Veneva, author of problem #1 on Birom, has also kindly shared presentation slides. You can find those here.

Languages of Africa, based on Ethnologue. Niger-Congo in green
Screen grab from Langscape, © 2014 University of Maryland
Birom is also an Atlantic-Congo language, but of a different branch: Plateau and it is spoken in Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the most linguistically diverse countries on the planet, it is estimated that over 500 languages are spoken there! Atlantic-Congo* is the largest language family in the world, with over 1,400 members!

For more information on how people did solving these two problems, insights from the authors etc, please see the presentation slides :)!

*There are two different names for this family, you might be more familiar with "Niger-Congo" than "Atlantic-Congo". They are different, and have different members. It all depends on how far back you believe that you can reconstruct this family. Glottolog is more conservative and uses "Atlantic-Congo", while Ethnologue is more inclusive and uses the label "Niger-Congo". One of the largest differences in the members of these two groups is whether or not to include Mande languages. "Niger-Congo" includes Mande, but "Atlantic-Congo" does not include Mande languages. Both of these labels include Bantu languages, the largest subgroup with over 600 languages.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Problems of IOL 2017 - you've got ten days to find the solutions!

The problems of IOL 2017 have been made available online! Hugh Dobbs, the chair of the Problem Committee, has given you all ten days to try and solve the problems, and then we will upload the solutions. So get craicing!

You can submit your suggested solutions down below in the comments of this blogpost if you want, that way they'll be time-stamped and we can compare them to the solutions when they are published ;)!

Solvers Choice Awards: Tae Hun Lee and the problem on Laven language and Khom script
Contrary to speculations by LNNO, the member of the Problem Committee who received the Solver's Choice awards was not Ksenia Gilyarova, but Tae Hun Lee. He received the award for problem number 4, which was about the language Laven (Jru') and the Khom script. Laven (Jru') is an Austroasiatic language spoken in Laos by approximately 28,000 people. The Khom script was used for this language from 1924 to 1936.

The Khom script was invited by Ong Kommandam and used in the rebellion by the hill Mon-Khmer groups  ("Khom") against French and Lao rule. In an article in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, linguist Paul Sidwell writes: 

The script was used by a political leader as part of his resistance effort against the colonial French, used to symbolize his power more than to communicate factual content. The script is unique in the way it has separate symbols for... <text hidden because spoiler>

Can you figure out what it is that Sidwell points out as unique with the Khom script? Let us know!

*** Update. The PDFs are now found in the regular place on the official website.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Prague IOL 2018

This years olympiad has finished, but the next one is already gearing up! The 16th International Olympiad in Linguistics will take place in Prague, Czech Republic on the 26th -30th of July 2018.

Vítáme vás!
Prague.  Tuomas Lehtinen, Getty images.
The hosts are the Faculties of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University and the venue is the University of Life Sciences. Vojta Diatka, who has been a team leader for the Czech delegation for many years now, is leading the local organizing team.

Below are the countries of this years IOL, but who will be partaking next year? Find out about your national olympiad on our website if you want to get a chance to come to Prague and compete against the world's brightest young linguistic minds!

P.S. The problem sets will soon be uploaded in all the languages of the contest. We will upload the problems first, and one week later the solutions. That way, you can all try your hand at solving them without being able to look up the correct solution!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Winners of IOL 2017!

The results of the International Linguistics Olympiad 2017 contests are now available in full online!

This post has been updated so that it lists all awards (not just the gold winners).
Individual Competition
Samuel AhmedUKGOLD
Przemysław PodleśnyPolandGOLDBest Sol. #1Best Sol. #4
Liam McKnightUKGOLD
Ruei Hung Alex LeeTaiwanGOLDBest Sol. #2
Zdravko IvanovBulgariaGOLD
Simeon HellstenUKGOLD
Brian XiaoUSAGOLDBest Sol. #3
Valentin DimovBulgariaGOLD
Elena KeskinovaBulgariaGOLD
Theodor CucuRomaniaGOLD
Andrew TockmanUSASILVER
Takumi YoshinoJapanSILVER
Joonas Jürgen KiselEstoniaSILVERBest Sol. #4
Jan PetrCzech RepublicSILVER
Harry TaylorUKSILVER
Anja ZdovcSloveniaSILVER
Eliška FreibergerováCzech RepublicSILVER
Paweł PiekarzPolandSILVER
Tereza MaláčováCzech RepublicSILVER
Joseph FefferUSASILVER
Chih-Lun Julian LiuTaiwanSILVER
Assel IsmoldayevaBulgariaSILVER
Chinmaya KausikIndiaSILVER
Daniel VedeneevRussiaSILVERBest Sol. #5
Szymon StolarczykPolandSILVER
Ekaterina VoloshinovaRussiaBRONZE
Emil IndzhevBulgariaBRONZE
Chirag C. DIndiaBRONZE
Iga JaworskaPolandBRONZE
Ziche ChenChinaBRONZE
Aleksei StarchenkoRussiaBRONZE
Ana Meta DolinarSloveniaBRONZEBest Sol. #1
Emilian TomaRomaniaBRONZE
Can YeşildereTurkeyBRONZE
Alicja MaksymiukPolandBRONZE
Emil IngelstenSwedenBRONZE
Tanya RomanovaRussiaBRONZE
Ștefan Răzvan BălăucăRomaniaBRONZE
Tina VladimirovaBulgariaBRONZE
Matei Costin BanuRomaniaBRONZE
Yuito YoneyamaJapanBRONZE
Yuyang LiuChinaBRONZE
Nazar SemkivUkraineBRONZE
Aleksej JurcaSloveniaBRONZE
Martin NikolovBulgariaBRONZE
Vlada PetrusenkoUkraineHononourable Mention
PAN TUNG-LETaiwanHononourable Mention
Ryuhoh IdeJapanHononourable Mention
Nicole HedblomSwedenHononourable Mention
Michaela SvatošováCzech RepublicHononourable Mention
Loona VolkeEstoniaHononourable Mention
Gustavo Palote da Silva MartinsBrazilHononourable Mention
Islambek TanabayKazakhstanHononourable Mention
Alexandra SoulyHungaryHononourable Mention
Thomas ChenNetherlandsHononourable Mention
Linghui ZhengChinaHononourable Mention
Filip KarczPolandHononourable Mention
Viktor BaltinBulgariaHononourable Mention
Angikar GhosalIndiaHononourable MentionBest Sol. #1
Junnosuke KajitaJapanHononourable Mention
Arsenii OleinikRussia BelkaHononourable Mention
Willie JengTaiwanHononourable Mention
Martijn Bij de VaateNetherlandsHononourable Mention
Maria ErshovaRussiaHononourable Mention
Svetlana BaranovaRussiaHononourable Mention
Bálint MazzagHungaryHononourable Mention
Jakub FamulskiPolandHononourable Mention
Weronika MotkowskaPolandHononourable Mention
Jae Hee KuhRep. of KoreaHononourable Mention
Yelyzaveta StoliarchukUkraineHononourable Mention
Richard LuhtaruEstoniaHononourable Mention
Shardul ChiplunkarIndiaHononourable Mention
Angellika VojevodinaLatviaHononourable Mention
Alina YanUkraineHononourable Mention
Rujul GandhiIndiaHononourable Mention
Sagnik AnupamIndiaHononourable Mention
Seonmin LeeRep. of KoreaHononourable Mention
Oleh KuzykUkraineHononourable Mention

Best Team Average in the Individual Competition
UK K team
Samuel Ahmed, Simeon Hellsten, Harry Taylor, Kamran Sharifi
Solvers’ Choice Award
Tae Hun Lee (#4)
Team Competition (Thursday)
Chih-Lun Julian LiuTaiTWO
Ruei Hung Alex LeeTaiTWO
Tseng, YuanTaiTWO

Iga JaworskaPoland Ą
Jakub FamulskiPoland Ą
Paweł PiekarzPoland Ą
Przemysław PodleśnyPoland Ą


Aleksej JurcaSlovenia
Ana Meta DolinarSlovenia
Anja ZdovcSlovenia
Maja BošnjakovićSlovenia
Congratulations to everyone who participated, well done! We hope you have enjoyed your stay in Ireland and wish all delegations a safe trip back home!