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.

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