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Linguistics Essay Prize for Year 12

This is an annual Linguistics competition for Year 12 students of any subject. The topic for the 2021 competition is:

Languages do not stop changing. Sometimes they change gradually over centuries and sometimes change is introduced abruptly.’

The Essay Prize aims to raise awareness of the systematic study of language as an interesting and multifaceted subject in and of itself.  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 in Year 12 with an interest in how language works, regardless of the subjects they are currently studying.. For example, it may be of interest to students taking A-Levels in Modern Languages, English or Classics, but also to students taking Psychology or Mathematics. So back to the topic:

How does language change work? Among other factors, consider how languages come into contact with each other and the impact of technology and of external events (e.g. the impact of COVID-19). You might wish to consult some of the following freely accessible resources and of course, to further research this topic on your own which are available at the website.

Students are invited to submit an essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words (references do not count towards the word limit; any widely used referencing style is acceptable). Essays should be submitted via this link: 

The deadline is the end (23:59 UK time) on Monday 2nd August 2021.  Late submissions cannot be accepted.  All candidates will be notified with the results of the competition by mid September.

Any queries should be directed to Dr Napoleon Katsos at

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.  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.

Full details of the competition are available here: 

Please fill out the application and attach your essay directly to the website in order to have an opportunity at winning £600 for you and for our school and for recognition of your participation in this event.

Please contact me if I can assist you in your endeavour.

Mrs Fry-Morales