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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

PRESS RELEASE: Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2014

North East

Running as part of the national competition led by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Routes into Languages North East are delighted to announce the return of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition for 2014! 


The main focus of Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a multilingual poetry competition that seeks to help children get creative with poetry to celebrate cultural diversity and the many languages currently spoken in schools across the UK. The Mother Tongue, Other Tongue initiative is being organised in the region by Routes into Languages North East thanks to funding from the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal and the regional winners will represent the North East at a national celebration event in Manchester at the end of June.


Routes into Languages North East will be providing a range of free Mother Tongue, Other Tongue poetry workshops to local schools over the coming months while the regional competition is now open to all primary and secondary aged pupils in the North East of England who can enter as individuals or groups of any size. The competition comprises two distinct categories:


The Mother Tongue category of the competition consists of two parts, the first of which is the poem itself. 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) and can be in any language other than English. The second part should be a short explanation (no more than half a page) of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, or why it is important to the person submitting it. This part must be written in English and is the part your entry will be judged on.


The Other Tongue category requires entries to be an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it. The languages you create your poem in should be studied in your school and can be any of the following: French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, BSL and Italian.


This year for the first time participants are asked to submit their poems digitally. Entrants for both categories are asked to create a short video of their poem being read aloud accompanied by images, film or text on the screen. All entries received will be housed online and a celebration event will be held for participating schools at Newcastle University in June 2014 where the regional winners will be announced. The deadline for entering the competition is Friday 16th of May 2014.


Routes into Languages North East would like to thank the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal for their support and sponsorship of the regional competition once again in 2014.


Please click here for full details of how to enter the competition. If you have any queries about the competiton please email Sophie Stewart at or Thomas Snell at