International Linguistics Olympiad

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The International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) is one of the newest in a group of twelve International Science Olympiads. Its abbreviation IOL is deliberately chosen not to correspond to the name of the organization in any particular language, and member organizations are free to choose for themselves how to designate the competition in their own language.[1] This olympiad furthers the fields of mathematical, theoretical, and descriptive linguistics.

Format[edit]

The setup differs from other Science Olympiads, in that the program contains both individual and team contests. The individual contest consists of 5 problems, covering the main fields of theoretical, mathematical and applied linguistics – phonetics, morphology, semantics, etc. – which must be solved in six hours.

The team contest has consisted of one extremely difficult and time-consuming problem since the 2nd IOL. Teams, which generally consist of four students, are given three to four hours to solve this problem.

Like all International Science Olympiads, its problems are translated and completed in several languages and as such must be written free of any native language constraints. In practice, this is often difficult and competitors may gain some advantage if they are familiar with one or more of the language groups which are the subject of some of the assignments. However, the most helpful ability is analytic and deductive thinking, as all solutions must include clear reasoning and justification (as in solving mathematical problems).

History[edit]

The first linguistic olympiad for secondary school students was organised in 1965 in Moscow, Russia, on the initiative of Alfred Zhurinsky (1938–1991), eventually a prominent philologist but then only a fifth-year student of linguistics, in an organizing committee chaired by the mathematician Vladimir Andreevich Uspensky and with the participation of the linguists Alexander Kibrik, Anna Polivanova and Andrey Zaliznyak.[2] It was held regularly until 1982 and resumed again in 1988.[3] Similar olympiads were founded in Bulgaria (1984),[3] Oregon, USA (1988)[4] and Saint Petersburg, Russia (1995).[3] Since the foundation of the Bulgarian olympiad, teams of winners of the Moscow Linguistic Olympiad have successfully competed in Bulgaria and vice versa, demonstrating good potential for international cooperation in the field.

Venues, year-by-year[edit]

The first edition of IOL then was realized in September, 2003, in the mountain resort Borovetz, Bulgaria, chaired by Alexander Kibrik from Moscow State University (MSU) and with the participation of six countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Netherlands and Russia.[5] The first International Jury was composed by the professors Ivan Derzhanski (president)(Institute for Mathematics and Informatics of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Alexander Berdichevsky (MSU), Boris Iomdin (Russian Language Institute) and Elena Muravenko (Department for Russian Language, Russian State University for the Humanities).[3] The five problems at the individual contest concerned Jacob Linzbach's "Transcendental algebra" writing system, Egyptian Arabic, Adyghe, and French. The team contest consisted of three problems, on Tocharian, the use of subscripts as indices, and on performative verbs.

IOL 2 was held from August 2 to 6, 2004, in the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH), in Moscow, Russia.[6] Seven countries participated, with the first participation of Poland and Serbia and Montenegro. The five problems at the individual contest were in Kayapo, Latin, English, Lakhota and Chuvash. The team problem was in Armenian.

IOL 3 was held in 2005 in Leiden, Netherlands, with the participation of 13 teams from 9 countries, Finland and Romania for their first time. The five problems at the individual contest were in Tzotzil, Lango, Mansi, Yoruba and Lithuanian. The team problem was in Figuig.

IOL 4 was held from August 1 to 6, 2006, at the University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.[7] Chaired by Renate Pajusalu, it received also 13 teams from 9 countries, with Lithuania sending a team for the first time. The five problems at the individual contest were in Lakhota, Catalan, Khmer, Udihe and Ngoni (or Chingoni), a language spoken by the Ngoni people in Tanzania.

IOL 5 was held from July 31 to August 4, 2007, at the Hotel Gelios, Saint Petersburg, Russia.[8] Chaired by Stanislav Gurevich, it received 15 teams from 9 countries; Spain, Sweden and USA came for the first time. In that year, it was decided that each country can send one or two teams, consisting of four students each, with the first team's costs fully covered by the host country. Also, the host country could send a third team.[8] The five problems at the individual contest were in Braille, Movima, Georgian, Ndom, and correspondences between Turkish and Tatar. The team problem was in Hawaiian and focused on genealogical terms.

IOL 6 was held from August 4 to 9, 2008, at the Sunny Beach Resort, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.[9] Chaired by Iliana Raeva, it gathered 16 teams from 11 countries, including the first time for Germany, Slovenia and South Korea. The Problem Committee was chaired by Ivan Derzhanski. The five individual problems were in Micmac, Old Norse poetry (specifically, drottkvætt), Drehu and Cemuhî correspondences, Copainalá Zoque, and Inuktitut. The team problem was about correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese using the fanqie system.

IOL 7 was held from July 26 to 31, 2009, at the University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland.[10] Chaired by Michał Śliwiński, it received 23 teams from 17 countries, with Australia, United Kingdom, India and Ireland sending teams for the first time. The Problem Committee was chaired by Todor Tchervenkov (University of Lyon, France). The subject matter of the five individual problems covered: numerals in the Sulka language, Maninka and Bamana languages in the N'Ko and Latin scripts, traditional Burmese names and their relation with dates of birth, stress position in Old Indic and the relation between grammar and morphology in classical Nahuatl. The team problem was in Vietnamese.

IOL 8 was held from July 19 to 24, 2010, at Östra Real Hostel, Stockholm, Sweden.[11] Chaired by Hedvig Skigård, it received 26 teams from 18 countries, including first time for Norway and Singapore. The Problem Committee was chaired by Alexander Piperski. The individual contest consisted of five problems covering: relations between various verb forms in Budukh, the Drehu counting system, Blissymbolics, mRNA coding, and the connection between Sursilvan and Engadine dialects in Romansh. The team problem involved translating extracts from a monolingual Mongolian dictionary.

IOL 9 was held from July 25 to 30, 2011, at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.[12] Chaired by Lori Levin, it received 27 teams from 19 countries, including Brazil, Canada, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam for the first time. The Problem Committee was chaired by Adam Hesterberg. The problems of the individual contest required reasoning about Faroese (Germanic) orthography, Menominee (Algic) morphology, Vai (Mande) syntax, Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan) semantics and the structure of the barcode language EAN-13. The team contest involved the rules and structure of Sanskrit poetry.

IOL 10 was held from July 29 to August 4, 2012, at the University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.[13] Chaired by Mirko Vaupotic, it received 34 teams from 26 countries, first time for China, Greece, Hungary, Israel and Japan. The Problem Committee was chaired by Ivan Derzhanski. The five problems at the individual contest were in Dyirbal (Pama-Nyungan) syntax, Umbu-Ungu (Trans-New Guinea) numbers, Basque (Isolate) pronouns, Teop (Austronesian) syntax, and Rotuman (Austronesian) semantics. The team problem involved recognizing country names in Lao language (Tai-Kadai).

IOL 11 was held from July 22 to 26, 2013, at the Manchester Grammar School, Manchester, UK.[14] Chaired by Neil Sheldon, it received 35 teams from 26 countries, including first time teams from Isle of Man, Taiwan and Turkey. The Problem Committee was chaired by Stanislav Gurevich. The five problems at the individual contest were about Yidiny (Pama-Nyungan) morphology, Tundra Yukaghir (Yukhagir) semantics, Pirahã (Mura) phonology, Muna (Austronesian) syntax, and telepathy based on English. The team problem involved translating Martin Seymour-Smith's list of the 100 most influential books from Georgian written in the 9th century Nuskhuri script.

IOL 12 is due to be held in July 2014, at the Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, China.

The different editions of IOL can be summarized on the following table:

Nbr Year Location Dates Countries Participants Webpage Problems
1 2003 BulgariaBorovets, Bulgaria 6 33 here here
2 2004 RussiaMoskva, Russia July 31 – Aug 2 7 43 here here
3 2005 NetherlandsLeiden, The Netherlands 9 50 here
4 2006 EstoniaTartu, Estonia Aug 1–6 9 51 here here
5 2007 RussiaSankt-Peterburg, Russia July 31 – Aug 4 9 61 here here
6 2008 BulgariaSlantchev Bryag, Bulgaria Aug 4–9 11 63 here here
7 2009 PolandWrocław, Poland July 26–31 17 86 here here
8 2010 SwedenStockholm, Sweden July 19–24 18 99 here here
9 2011 United StatesPittsburgh, USA July 24–30 19 102 here here
10 2012 SloveniaLjubljana, Slovenia July 29 – Aug 4 26 131 here here
11 2013 United KingdomManchester, UK July 22–26 26 138 here here

Individual medalists[edit]

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze
2003 Borovets, Bulgaria Bulgaria Alexandra Petrova Russia

Boris Turovsky Russia
Eddin Najetović Netherlands

Mirjam Plooij Netherlands

Maria Skhapa Russia

Polina Oskolskaya Russia

Ivan Dobrev Bulgaria

2004 Moscow, Russia Russia Ivan Dobrev Bulgaria

Alexander Piperski Russia
Ralitsa Markova Bulgaria

Maria Mamykina Russia

Todor Chervenkov Bulgaria
Tsvetomila Mihaylova Bulgaria
Tymon Słoczyński Poland

Alexandra Zabelina Russia

Xenia Kuzmina Russia
Alexei Nazarov Netherlands
Margus Niitsoo Estonia
Natalja Hartsenko Estonia
Nikita Medyankin Russia
Sophia Oskolskaya Russia

2005 Leiden, Netherlands Netherlands Ivan Dobrev Bulgaria
Eleonora Glazova Russia
Nikita Medyankin Russia

Tsvetomila Mihaylova Bulgaria
Alexander Piperski Russia
Ivaylo Grozdev Bulgaria

2006 Tartu, Estonia Estonia Maria Kholodilova Russia

Ivaylo Dimitrov Bulgaria
Pavel Sofroniev Bulgaria

Yordan Mehandzhiyski Bulgaria

Eleonora Glazova Russia
Mihail Minkov Bulgaria
Daniil Zorin Russia
Sergey Malyshev Russia
Alexander Daskalov Bulgaria

Yuliya Taran Russia

Nikita Medyankin Russia
Diana Aitai Estonia
Paweł Świątkowski Poland

2007 Saint Petersburg, Russia Russia Adam Hesterberg United States

Łukasz Cegieła Poland

Kira Kiranova Russia

Mihail Minkov Bulgaria
Arseniy Vetushko-Kalevich Russia
Sander Pajusalu Estonia
Teele Vaalma Estonia
Angel Naydenov Bulgaria

Anna Shlomina Russia

Yordan Mehandzhiyski Bulgaria
Elizaveta Rebrova Russia
Maria Kholodilova Russia

2008 Slanchev Bryag, Bulgaria Bulgaria Alexander Daskalov Bulgaria

Hanzhi Zhu United States
Milan Abel Lopuhaa Netherlands

Anand Natarajan United States

Maciej Janicki Poland
Morris Alper United States
Dmitry Perevozchikov Russia
Łukasz Cegieła Poland
Andrey Nikulin Russia
Marcin Filar Poland

Guy Tabachnick United States

Joon Kyu Kang South Korea
Radosław Burny Poland
Diana Sofronieva Bulgaria
Jeffrey Lim United States
Karol Konaszyński Poland
Yordan Mehandzhiyski Bulgaria
Rebecca Jacobs United States
Tatyana Polevaya Russia
Georgi Rangelov Bulgaria

2009 Wrocław, Poland Poland Diana Sofronieva Bulgaria

Łukasz Cegieła Poland

Vitaly Pavlenko Russia

Andrey Nikulin Russia
Yordan Mehandzhiyski Bulgaria
Arturs Semenyuks Latvia
Irene Tamm Estonia
Łukasz Kalinowski Poland
Witold Małecki Poland
Aakanksha Sarda India
Rebecca Jacobs United States

Deyana Kamburova Bulgaria

Szymon Musioł Poland
Elena Volkova Russia
Laura Adamson Estonia
Alan Huang United States
Ben Caller United Kingdom
Tomasz Dobrzycki Poland
John Berman United States
Jun Yeop Lee South Korea
Sergei Bernstein United States
Hye Jin Ryu South Korea

2010 Stockholm, Sweden Sweden
Vadim Tukh Russia

Andrey Nikulin Russia
Ben Sklaroff United States

Martin Camacho United States

Tian-Yi Damien Jiang United States
Daria Vasilyeva Russia
Allen Yuan United States
Aleksejs Peguševs Latvia
Łukasz Kalinowski Poland
Krzysztof Pawlak Poland
Daniel Rucki Poland
Maciej Dulęba Poland

Mirjam Parve Estonia

Miroslav Manolov Bulgaria
Alexander Iriza United States
Alan Chang United States
Vitaly Pavlenko Russia
Artūrs Semeņuks Latvia
Mona Teppor Estonia
Jakob Park Germany
Diana Glazova Russia
Szymon Kanonowicz Poland
Roman Stasiński Poland
Ellen Sinot Netherlands
Younus Porteous United Kingdom
Ana Pavlović Serbia
Song Jeeun South Korea

2011 Pittsburgh, USA United States
Morris Alper United States

Eva-Lotta Käsper Estonia
Daria Vasilyeva Russia
Aleksey Kozlov Russia

Wesley Jones United States

Allen Yuan United States
Jekaterina Malina Latvia
Anton Sokolov Russia
Alexander Wade United States
Victor Valov Bulgaria
Duligur Ibeling United States
Paul Lau Australia

Min Kyu Kim South Korea

Elena Rykunova Russia
Artūrs Semeņuks Latvia
Hyun Park South Korea
Rok Kaufman Slovenia
Vadim Tukh Russia
Daniel Mitropolsky Canada
Nik Moore United Kingdom
Daniel Rucki Poland
Aaron Klein United States
Dimitar Hristov Bulgaria
Mihhail Afanasjev Estonia
Ralf Ahi Estonia

2012 Ljubljana, Slovenia Slovenia
Anton Sokolov Russia

Alexander Wade United States
Vadim Tukh Russia
Anderson Wang United States
Konrad Myszkowski Poland
Jonathan Hongsoon Kim South Korea
Marin Ivanov Bulgaria
Kristian Kostadinov Bulgaria

Darryl Wu United States

Allan Sadun United States
Eva-Lotta Käsper Estonia
Tom White United Kingdom
Daniel Rucki Poland
Aaron Klein United States
Max Allmendinger Germany
Ilya Pogodaev Russia
Ivan Tadeu Ferreira Antunes Filho Brazil
Rok Kaufman Slovenia
Hong Bum Choi South Korea
Ji Wook Kim South Korea
Sagar Sarda India

Pedro Neves Lopes Brazil

Erik Andersen United States
Magdalena Dakeva Bulgaria
Ants-Oskar Mäesalu Estonia
Omri Faraggi United Kingdom
Anna Sarukhanova Russia
Melanie Duncan United Kingdom
Baichuan Li United Kingdom
Anita Mudzhumdar Russia
Estere Šeinkmane Latvia
Yash Sinha India
Amelia Shaye Lim Jim Singapore
Edyta Gajdzik Poland
Mette-Triin Purde Estonia
Erik Tamre Estonia
Anne Ng Yin-Yi Singapore

2013 Manchester, UK United Kingdom
Alexander Wade United States

Anton Sokolov Russia
Matyas Medek Czech Republic
Gabriel Alves da Silva Diniz Brazil
Michał Hadryś Poland
Iva Gumnishka Bulgaria
Estere Šeinkmane Latvia

Omri Faraggi United Kingdom

Yash Sinha India
Polina Pleshak Russia
Kuzma Smirnov Russia
Martyna Siejba Poland
Aaron Klein United States
Airika Arrik Estonia
Boryana Hadzhiyska Bulgaria
Ivan Zverev Russia
Huisu Yun South Korea
Jeffrey Ling United States
Yulia Markova Bulgaria

Nilai Sarda India

Vesko Milev Bulgaria
Marin Ivanov Bulgaria
Ivan Lyutskanov Bulgaria
Jacob Karlsson Lagerros Sweden
Tom McCoy United States
Martyna Judd Australia
Ants-Oskar Mäesalu Estonia
Milena Velikova Bulgaria
Jeong Yeon Choi South Korea
Ekaterina Novikova Russia
Maciej Kucharski Poland
Daniel Lovsted Canada
Maximilian Schindler United States
Jiyun Sung South Korea
Sarah Tham Singapore
Jan Bajer Poland

Team medals[edit]

Nbr Year Location Team Gold Team Silver Team Bronze Winning team in individual competition
1 2003 Borovets, Bulgaria Netherlands Netherlands Russia-StPetersburg Russia Russia-Moscow Russia Netherlands Netherlands
2 2004 Moskva, Russia Russia-StPetersburg Russia Latvia Latvia Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria
3 2005 Leiden, The Netherlands Netherlands Netherlands Russia-Moscow Russia Russia-StPetersburg Russia Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria
4 2006 Tartu, Estonia Bulgaria-2 Bulgaria Netherlands Netherlands Poland-1 Poland Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria
5 2007 Sankt-Peterburg, Russia USA-2 United States
Moscow Russia
Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria
Bulgaria-2 Bulgaria
None Awarded Estonia Estonia
6 2008 Slantchev Bryag, Bulgaria USA-2 United States
Bulgaria-East Bulgaria
Netherlands Netherlands
USA-1 United States
None Awarded USA United States
7 2009 Wrocław, Poland USA-Red United States Korea-1 South Korea Russia-Moscow Russia Russia-Moscow Russia
8 2010 Stockholm, Sweden Latvia Latvia Russia-Moscow Russia Poland-2 Poland USA-Blue United States
9 2011 Pittsburgh, USA USA-Red United States Russia-StPetersburg Russia Russia-Moscow Russia USA-Red United States
10 2012 Ljubljana, Slovenia USA-Blue United States Netherlands Netherlands Poland-2 Poland Russia-StPetersburg Russia
11 2013 Manchester, UK USA-Red United States Russia-StPetersburg Russia Bulgaria-1 Bulgaria
Romania Romania
USA-Red United States

Media coverage[edit]

  • Newspaper article in The Age "It may be semantics, but linguistics can be a team event". July 27, 2012.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IOL official website
  2. ^ "International history". United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d "First International Olympiad in Linguistics (2003)". Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Moskow State University. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "History of Linguistic Challenges". North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ "IOL 2003". International Linguistics Olympiad official website. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Second International Linguistic Olympiad (2004)". Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Moskow State University. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Fourth International Linguistics Olympiad for Secondary School Students". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "The Fifth International Linguistics Olympiad". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ "6th International Linguistics Olympiad". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ "7th International Olympiad in Linguistics". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  11. ^ "IOL10". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  12. ^ "IOL 2011: Venue". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "The 10th International Linguistics Olympiad". Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ "The International Linguistics Olympiad 2013". Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "It may be semantics, but linguistics can be a team event". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 

External links[edit]