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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


The Next Generation of Linguists is Buzzing

On Friday 30 June and Monday 3 July, MML and the University of Cambridge were proud to hold two very exciting events for language lovers. 62,455 students competed in the National Modern Languages Spelling Bee, with 104 participating in the final event on Friday. Monday’s Translation Bee saw the final 45 students down from the initial 16,910 who began in the competition. They came from all over England, with 9 regional finals leading into the national final competition. The excitement was palpable at the final and each student excelled.


These competitions are the result of a project (initially funded by HEFCE) encouraging young people to study languages even though they are no longer compulsory. Cambridge University and other members of the Routes into Languages East consortium worked with schools to help deliver the message that languages are still relevant, useful, and essential to study in school and beyond. Thanks to support from MML, the European Commission and Vocab Express it was possible to continue the Bees. We were very pleased to have in attendance MP for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner, who congratulated the group for their hard work and handed out prizes to the winners of the Spelling Bee.

Sarah Schechter, Project Manager for Routes into Language (East) and Bye Fellow at Murray Edwards College, said of the competition,


“The students were all just amazing! I feel so enthusiastic about these projects. Both projects give the students lots of useful transferable and generic skills, while also being fun and providing healthy competition as well as a body of automatized knowledge to build on as they continue their all-important language studies.”


The events were the result of hard work and close collaboration between Routes into Language and local teachers Jane Driver of the Voyager Academy, and Rachel Hawkes of Comberton Village College. All of the educators involved in shaping this project have a deep knowledge of the pedagogy and know how to motivate their students to excel.  


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