Friday, August 3, 2018

New post on the IOL-facebook page August 03, 2018 at 01:58PM

We will be publishing the results of IOL Prague 2018 soon, please hold on a little bit longer. #IOLing
from IOL - International Linguistics Olympiad

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New post on the IOL-facebook page August 02, 2018 at 06:07PM

Thank you everyone who participated and supported this years International Linguistics olympiad in Prague! Thanks to all the team leaders, organisers, jurors, problem committee members, local organisers, volunteers, board and more! Well done everyone! #IOLing
from IOL - International Linguistics Olympiad

Monday, July 30, 2018

New post on the IOL-facebook page July 30, 2018 at 03:57PM

FINAL RESULTS (IOL 2018, Prague) 1) Individual Contest Winner: Przemysław Podleśny (Poland - Biali) 95+ points 2) Best Average Team: USA Blue (Benjamin LaFond, Russell Emerine, Pranav Krishna, Mihir Singhal) 3) Team Contest (Gold Medal): USA Blue (Benjamin LaFond, Russell Emerine, Pranav Krishna, Mihir Singhal)
from IOL - International Linguistics Olympiad

Thursday, July 26, 2018

New post on the IOL-facebook page July 26, 2018 at 09:34PM

The Individual Contest starts tomorrow at 9:00 AM in the yellow building (FAPPZ). There will be volunteers available in front of the Jih building at 8:30 AM to guide you there if you're not sure where to go. Make sure to pick up your lunch boxes at the canteen during the breakfast so that you have enough energy for problem solving! Good luck to all 🤖 #IOLing
from IOL - International Linguistics Olympiad

Friday, July 20, 2018

New post on the IOL-facebook page July 20, 2018 at 11:33PM

What languages do you know? This year the problem set will be available in 19 languages. However, our contestants and team leaders probably speak more languages than that! Can anyone beat our multilingual jury's competence? Let's see! Comment the languages you know. You can add in your competence level too, in CEFR (A1 - C2) or however you chose to describe how well you know it. #IOLing
from IOL - International Linguistics Olympiad

The 19 languages of this years IOL 2018 in Prague

IOL 2016 ceremony
Every year in the International Linguistics Olympiad we feature a multitude of different languages both in the problem sets themselves, and also as spoken by the contestants. The contestants are also able to receive the problem and hand in the solution in some other languages besides English. It is common for international olympiads to have the problem set in several different languages, we don't want to be biased against non-English speakers - in particular not at a linguistics contest. If you want to know more about the multilingual workings of the IOL, go here.

We won't reveal anything about the problem set before hand, of course, but we are hereby announcing the languages in which the contest will receive the problems and that they can answer in.

Languages of the IOL 2018
  1. English (European & North American) 
  2. Hungarian 
  3. Swedish 
  4. Russian 
  5. Ukrainian 
  6. Estonian 
  7. Danish 
  8. Polish 
  9. French 
  10. Chinese (Traditional & Simplified)
  11. Portuguese (Brazilian) 
  12. Japanese 
  13. Czech 
  14. Slovene 
  15. Dutch 
  16. Romanian 
  17. Bulgarian 
  18. Korean 
  19. Nepali

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Prague 2018 online following

This years event will take place soon in Prague, Czechia. The international contest is organised by the Czech Linguistics Olympiad, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University with the support of Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.

During the contest, you can follow us by checking out the #ioling hasthtag on social media, following our social media accounts and websites.
If you're a contestant or team leader present during the contest in Prague, please tag your pictures and posts with #IOLing so that we all see and share in the excitement!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pakistan will not participate at IOL 2018 in Prague

We are sad to inform the IOL-community that Pakistan will not be attending the 16th International Olympiad of Linguistics in Prague 2018.

We kindly ask that you direct any questions about the Pakistani delegation to their official email: The website of the Linguistics Society of Pakistan and the contest is:, you can go there to read more.

As a representative of the board, I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify some details of the IOL organisation. The IOL is organised by a coalition of linguists and other scholars from around the world. Here follows a brief outline of the bodies of the IOL, please read our rules for more detail.

  • The IOL-board - works throughout the year, elected by IOC (see below), deals with accreditation, overarching organisational matters, communication and more.
  • The Local Organising Committee (LOC) - based at the institution that is hosting the event each year, deals with registration, accomodation, schedule and other practical details of the actual contest
  • The Problem Committee (PC) - creates and manages the translation of the problem sets
  • The Jury - consists of a subset and associates of the PC, does the actual marking at the contest
  • The International Organising Committee (IOC) - representatives of accredited contest and members of the jury. Meets during the contest, elects board, confirms future locations and makes other important decisions about the contest (changes in rules etc)
All of this is outlined in our rules in much more detail, you can find them here:

The IOL governs which contests are accredited and the rules and goings-on of the international contest. The IOL does not manage details of each individual contest, kindly do not contact us regarding specific matters of contests (unless you are unable to get information from the contest organisers, in which case we are likely to want to know that). You can contact the IOL here.

Thank you.

/Hedvig (PR-chair together with Simona)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

All solutions and problems now up for IOL 2017!

All problems and solutions of IOL 2017 are now up, including the solution to the team contest problem (Indonesian + Emojis).

They're all here!

Well done everyone who competed! How did you do? Tells us in the comments!

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!