International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) Exam Collection In 2023

The International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) is one of the International Science Olympiads for secondary school students. 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. This olympiad furthers the fields of mathematical, theoretical, and descriptive linguistics.

The setup differs from most of the other Science Olympiads, in that the olympiad 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, syntax, sociolinguistics, 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 nearly 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. However, unlike other olympiads, the translations are provided by the multilingual Problem Committee, a body of experts independent of the delegates' team leaders. Because competitors could gain some advantage if they are familiar with one or more of the language groups which are the subject of some of the assignments, problems are increasingly based on some of the world's lesser known languages. Fortunately, with more than 6,000 languages spoken world-wide (not including so-called dead languages) there are plenty to choose from. The committee has a policy of not using artificial[contradictory] or fictional languages for its problems. The presence of an independent Problem Committee and Jury means that team leaders do not have to be experts in the field (though most are): they can (and often do) work closely with their teams providing last-minute coaching throughout the week of the competition.

In any case, the most helpful ability is analytic and deductive thinking, as all solutions must include clear reasoning and justification.

International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) past exam and answer

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