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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition

Wednesday, 17 March, 2021 - 16:45 to Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 - 17:00
Event Type: 
West Midlands
West Midlands Schools

A multilingual poetry competition that celebrates cultural diversity and the many languages currently spoken in schools across the UK.

The aim of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is to celebrate languages, culture and language-learning, giving secondary school students the opportunity to practise and improve their foreign language skills (any language they are learning in school) and appreciate their heritage, using poetry. The regional competition is being led by Routes into Languages West Midlands at Aston University.

The idea was originally developed by the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and Routes into Languages North West and due to its success, was rolled out across the country.


The competition

Mother Tongue entries will be in two parts: The first part is the poem. This can be an original, creative piece, or a poem or song that is ‘remembered’ – i.e. something in your first language that you recall, or that has been told to you by a relative. This can be in any language but English. The second part should be a short explanation of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, or why it is important to the person submitting it (no more than half a page). This part must be written in English and is the part your entry will be judged on.

Other Tongue entries must be an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it. Entries are welcomed in French, Spanish, German or Italian.

The competition is open to all students in KS3, KS4 & KS5

There will be one Winner from each of the three key stages. Each of those winners will receive a Winner Certificate and an Amazon Voucher to the value of £25.

In light of the current Coronavirus situation, we have made some important changes to the format of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition.

  • Please submit entries via email. Please email entries to 
  • Each entry must have a cover sheet.
  • Please send the coversheet and entry together as one document.
  • Please only include one entry per document (For example, if you are submitting 6 entries there should be 6 documents attached).
  • Entries must be sent from the teacher (entries sent from pupils will not be accepted).
  • All entries must be sent together in one email.

The deadline for entries to be received by us is Wednesday 26 May 2021. Please note that we cannot extend this deadline for individual schools so any entries received after that date will not be counted.

N.B. In the event of insufficient entries of good quality for a Key Stage, no prize will be awarded; the Judges’ decision is final.