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The Languages and Cultures Essay Prize is a competition that can be entered by students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. Candidates are invited to submit an essay on one of a number of topics.

The titles for the 2024 competition are as follows:

  • ‘Cultural objects are never objective. It is crucial to ask whose perspective is dominant.’ Discuss.
  • ‘Language is often the least effective mode of communication.’ Discuss.
  • ‘What truth is depends on what language you use.’ Discuss.
  •  ‘Artists change the world by re-defining the meaning of words and/or images’. Discuss.

You should respond to just one title.

Format: The essay should treat elements of any language (including English) and/or cultural form or artefact (literature, visual art, cinema, material culture, etc). Essays can be up to 3,000 words, including all footnotes and references but excluding the bibliography.  It’s worth considering the use of examples in your essays: the best essays often use a diverse selection of contemporary, historical or literary examples.  We encourage you to provide references to your sources of information, and to include a bibliography at the end of the essay.  Please include your name on the document and save the file as “Surname, First name”.

Eligibility: The Prize is for students in Year 12 or Lower 6th at the time the questions are released in April.  Students based abroad are most welcome to participate. To be eligible, you must be in your penultimate year of school. That is, to be eligible for the 2024 competition, you should be expecting to receive your final school results in the year from September 2024 to August 2025. This condition is held to strictly and, to be fair to the participants, no exceptions are made.  Each entrant to the competition is allowed to submit only one essay.

Submissions: Essays must be submitted by 12 noon (UK time) on Thursday 1 August 2024.  Please submit essays using the form below.

Prize: The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. Winners will be announced in September, and will be invited to visit the College to meet some of the teaching staff.

Contact: Any queries from students who may be interested in submitting work for the prize, or their teachers, should be directed to the Admissions Office by email to:

About you

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About your school

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School Address(Required)

Your Entry

Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, Max. file size: 2 MB.
1. I hereby agree that for educational/non-commercial purposes the College may use the Recordings (transcribed or otherwise) and may use the essay I submit (‘Essay’) (with due acknowledgement of my authorship) throughout the world for the full period of copyright, including all renewals, reversions, extensions and revivals of such period, in the following ways: a) storing, publishing or transmitting the Recordings and/or the Essay in College internal archives and databases; and b) exhibiting, publishing or transmitting the Recordings and/or the Essay in print, on DVD or other digital media and on the Internet at College websites and College-affiliated websites; and c) distributing the Recordings and/or the Essay to the press, media organisations and other interested parties for publication, transmission or broadcast.] 2. The information provided in this form is used for the administration of the Linguistics Essay Prize and is managed and stored in accordance with UK Data Protection regulations 3. This agreement shall be governed in all respects by English law.
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Past prize winners


First Prize: Steffan Nicholas (Penweddig Comprehensive School)
Joint Second Prize: Melissa Berry (The Sixth Form College Colchester); Krish Deshpande (Colchester Royal Grammar School)

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