PORT MORESBY – After the announcement of the countries participating in IOL in Dublin, there was relief visible on the faces of the IOL Problem Committee, who had been waiting in dread at the possibility of a team from Africa going to the competition. “Thank fucking God,” said Ksenia Gilyarova, wiping her sweat-dripped brow with a scrap of cretonne ripped from a tablecloth. “We would have had to change all 5 questions. Obviously, we can’t reveal any information about what languages they’re on, but they’re all spoken by, like, millions of people. If we had a team from Africa participate, there’s actually a surprisingly high chance they would know at least some of the language. I think one of the languages this year has something like 5 million speakers, which you’d think would make the problem more susceptible to prior knowledge.”
When questioned about the issue of prior knowledge at IOL, Ksenia said, “Some might say we underestimate the amount of preparation people do for this contest, but if they read some of the answers we have to mark, they’d understand we’re actually being very generous. From what I’ve seen, people do absolutely no preparation whatsoever. I’m pretty sure we could put in a question on German and people would still get a mean score of 3.” Either way, we here at LNNO are glad that the problem committee don’t have to rewrite all 5 problems to cope with a participating African team. Ivan Derzhanski is said to be disappointed not to have the opportunity to write an IOL paper in Bemba.
“Obviously, we can’t reveal any information about what languages [this year’s problems] are on, but they’re all spoken by, like, millions of people.” – Ksenia Gilyarova
Many news outlets are reporting that the announcement of the participating countries so early came as a surprise to many, especially since the participation numbers are down from last year and many countries have not yet selected their teams. In an LNNO exclusive, IOL media correspondent Hedvig Skirgård told us about the last minute panic when Simona Klemenčič opened her email account to see a registration request from a linguistics professor at the University of Dar es Salaam. She told us, “Having consulted with the problem committee who had written three out of the five problems on languages from Tanzania, we regrettably realised that the deadline for registration happened to fall just prior to the email. We wish Tanzania all the best for Prague 2018.” When prompted for a comment about the allegations of a pro-Europe agenda that discriminates against African countries, Stanislav Gurevitch had this to say: “You’re damn right. And while we’re at it, fuck Papua New Guinea too. If they ever come, I’m done.”