The Perse School

Perse student wins Bronze medal at International Linguistics Olympiad

31 Jul 2018

Hari Prasad (Year 11) is celebrating after winning a bronze medal at the International Linguistics Olympiad, which took place in Prague earlier this week.

Hari won the bronze award in the individual round of the competition. Hari also competed as part of a team chosen to represent the United Kingdom, and the UK team also received a bronze award, coming only 0.35 points off first place.

The International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) is one of 12 International Science Olympiads that take place each year for secondary school students.

Teams of young linguists from around the world, armed with logical and problem solving abilities, outside-the-box thinking, patience and creativity, tested their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in language and linguistics. As part of the competition hosted by the Charles University and Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, students had to decipher puzzles compiled in a range of languages.

As well as learning French, German and Latin, Hari’s language skills extend to Chinese, Irish Gaelic and Sanskrit – an ability he believes helps with solving linguistics problems.

Hari said:  “It was especially enjoyable meeting people from all over the world and getting to know about their cultures and languages.  I was incredibly nervous beforehand because the winning country is decided on the average of a team’s individual scores.

The questions centred on: the Creek stress placement system; the Hakhun syntax and auxiliary prefix/suffix hierarchy; the sound laws involved between Terêna’s first person singular and second person singular genitive case (and the effect of Portuguese loanwords on that); the varying hybrid base system of Mountain Arapesh for counting objects, and the Iroquois kinship system of Akan.

Personally, I would say I enjoyed Mountain Arapesh the most because of how bizarre and complicated a system they had devised for merely counting things.

As for Prague, I found it very picturesque and liked visiting all the famous places there. The Czech language is quite interesting and it still amazes me that they can have 5 consecutive consonants (all of which form individual sounds), such as in ‘zrmzlina’ which means ice cream. Our campus was excellent as it contained a huge sports centre and spacious lecture halls. At the closing ceremony, the organisers performed a handover to the next hosts, South Korea. Having seen their promotion video, I really hope it will be possible to get into the team next year!”

See the results here.

 

 

 
 
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