Babel Events

The Babel Young Writers’ Competition

Babel launched the Young Writers’ Competition in 2014, inspired by an article we published in 2013 by young linguist Kateryna Pavliuk’s article on British Sign Language. In 2015, we introduced two different categories – one for 16-18-year-old linguists, and another for undergraduate linguists.

Our 2018 competition is now open to 16-18-year-olds and undergraduates! Young linguists have until 24 August to enter for the chance to be published in Babel No25, to be published in November. The winner also, of course, receives a year’s subscription to Babel!

Entries should be no longer than 2,500 words, and can discuss any topic to do with languages and linguistics. The winners will be announced in October. Download our guidelines, and submit your entries or any queries you may have to the Babel editors.

You can also get inspired by reading our previous winners!

2017
Dong Hyun Kang was our 16-18 winner with his discussion of wars on language, while Abhishek Dedhe won the undergraduate category with his discussion of the language choices that face immigrant parents in the US.

2016
James Akka was our 16-18 winner with his overview of language birth, while Emma Jewell won the undergraduate category with her investigation of Romansch.

2015
Jonathan Lahdo took the 16-18 prize with his analysis on language choice in Lebanon, while Ollie Sayeed won the undergraduate prize with his insights into what we can learn from spoonerisms.

2014
Niamh Mulholland won our inaugural competition with her article on Konglish, a fusion of Korean and English.

The Babel Lecture

The 2019 Babel Lecture
The fifth annual Babel Lecture will be given by Jessica Coon, the linguistic consultant on the Hollywood film Arrival. Jessica will discuss aliens, fieldwork and Universal Grammar, and how her linguistic expertise enabled her to help the makers of Arrival to portray communication between aliens and humans. Jessica will also talk about her consultancy work on other film projects.

Jessica has previously appeared in Babel’s Meet the Professionals – read her interview here.

The event will take place on 24th May at the University of Huddersfield – keep the date in your diaries, and your eyes peeled for more details nearer the time!

Previous Babel Lectures have also been star-studded affairs! Click the links below for reviews:

  • 2018 – Susie Dent, Countdown dictionary expert and lexicographer, looked at attitudes towards the ‘Americanization’ of English.
  • 2017 – Peter French, forensic speech expert, discussed how linguistic analysis can help solve crimes.
  • 2016 – David Crystal, Babel’s own Linguistic Consultant, looked at intonation, and the many ways it affects the meaning of what we say.
  • 2015 – Brendan Gunn, dialect coach to the stars, lectured on the importance of understanding how exactly a stream of air from the lungs can produce so much meaning.
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