Main page for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition in Scotland


MTOT strapline

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing, and showcases the many languages spoken and learned by young people in school and at home.

Run very successfully via Routes into Languages in England, SCILT initially brought the competition to Scotland as a pilot in Glasgow in 2014. The competition has since been run throughout Scotland, allowing all pupils from P1-S6 to participate as well as bilinguals and those studying languages beyond school. 

Due to staffing and budget constraints, however, there are currently no plans to run the competition during the 2019-20 academic session.

You can still find out more about Mother Tongue Other Tongue below and use the resources to run your own competition within your school or cluster.

Information about the competition

The competition is split into two categories:

multilingual speech bubble

Mother Tongue

encourages children and young people, who do not speak English as a first language, to submit an original poem, song or rap, written in their mother tongue language, accompanied by a commentary in English detailing the inspiration behind their writing. In Scotland, pupils will be able to submit commentaries on Scots and Gaelic texts in this category.

child at school blackboard

Other Tongue

encourages children and young people learning another language in school, college or university (French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Urdu, Gaelic, and Cantonese) to use that language creatively by writing an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue.  An accompanying text in English should also be included outlining their inspiration.


Read the anthologies containing winning poems from previous competitions.


MTOT blog

The 'Creative Bag of Tricks' series on the MTOT blog provides a number of suggested poetry activities for the classroom. This is now an archived resource, but teachers may still find the materials useful.

Poetry resources

We have produced a number of resources and collated links to various websites to help teachers prepare their pupils for the competition.

These cover a selection of poetry styles and techniques as well as examples of foreign language poems and themed poetry.

There is also a link to National Poetry Day resources to help schools incorporate this event into their competition preparation.

Testimonials « Prev Next »

2018-19 Highlights

Twitter logoWe had plenty of feedback and comments on Twitter from participants in Mother Tongue Other Tongue.

Tweets about MTOT, mtot_scilt

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