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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition

Friday, 1 March, 2019 - 09:00 to Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 17:00
Event Type: 
West Midlands
Aston University

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, Birmingham.

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, is now being 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.

Winning students from the West Midlands will be invited to the National Celebration Event at Manchester Metropolitan University in June date to be confirmed.

How to enter

The competition opens from Friday 1 March and the deadline for entries is Monday 20 May 2019.

Please send your entries by email to, or by post to Claire Richards, Project Manager, Routes into Languages, MB777, School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET.

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

For more information on the competition, how to enter and for ideas of how to integrate this into your lessons, please find attached the Teacher’s Pack.

See  for further details and to download promotional materials, workshop ideas and resources