This is an annual Linguistics competition for Year 12 (Lower 6th) students. The Essay Prize aims to raise awareness of the systematic study of language as an interesting and multifaceted subject in and of itself. It is hoped that the Prize will encourage students with an interest in linguistics to explore this further and to apply for a University course in this subject. In addition, the Prize aims to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students from whatever background they may come, as well as the achievements of those who teach them.
The competition is open to all students with an interest in how language works regardless of the specific subjects they are currently studying at A-Level (or similar qualification). For example, it may be of interest to students taking A-Levels in Modern Languages, English Language or Classics, but also to students taking Psychology or Mathematics.
The topic for the 2018 competition is as follows:
‘Many of us feel that we can communicate with some animals, for example, our pets. But do animals have language?’ Address this question by defining the important features of human languages and then consider instances where animals do or don’t exhibit them.
You could use some of these free online resources as introductory background reading:
Candidates are invited to submit an essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words. Essays should be submitted using the form below by the deadline of 1 August. All candidates will be notified with the results of the competition by early September.
Any queries should be directed to Dr Napoleon Katsos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college, and a Second Prize of £300, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. The school or college’s portion of each prize will be issued in the form of book tokens with which to buy linguistics books. In addition, up to three further essays of a high quality will be commended.
Past Prize Winners
- 1st Prize: Julia Southern-Wilkins (Bedford Girls’ School)
- 2nd Prize: Martha Birtles (Holy Cross College, Bury)
- 1st Prize: Shefali Chander (Westminster School)
- 2nd Prize: David Fenton-Smith (High Storrs School)
- Joint 1st Prize: Olivia Bonsall (Holy Cross College, Bury)
- Joint 1st Prize: Georgina Connors (The British School of Paris)
- 2nd Prize: Kirsty Bailey (Croydon High School)