Junior Language Challenge Final 2017

Friday 13th may be unlucky for some but for one young budding linguist it could mean holding the Junior Language Challenge 2017 trophy high with pride and winning a trip to Africa!

A record number have taken part in the UK’s only national language challenge for primary school children this year. 32 finalists from all over the UK will be competing at the final held during the Language Show in London this Friday, 1th October.

The finalists were all 10 or under on the 1st of September 2017 . For one competitor, Grace, it’s her third final – she’s already been the star of  Child Genius on Channel 4.

This year’s challenge could prove to be one of the toughest yet as the language for the final is Zulu which, according to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), is one of the hardest language to learn from English.

“Zulu – or isiZulu- is one of the Bantu languages, which means it shares some characteristics with languages such as Swahili and Shona. It’s one of the 11 official languages of South Africa and is a ‘click’ language: the letters c, q and x represent three different click sounds. We’re looking forward to seeing how our youngsters will get on with Zulu, and whether they’ll give the clicks a go!’ said Nat Dinham, uTalk’s Language Producer.

The JLC champion wins a trip to an African country for their family as part of the prize and last year’s winner Ritisha Baidyaray will be presenting the 2017 prizes and talking about her experiences in Malawi at the event.


The JLC is a non-profit project, this year we’ve raised £11,000 from entry fees for onebillion – a global education charity with the goal of helping one billion children reach their full potential in maths, reading and English.

Finally, the organisers of the uTalk Junior Language Challenge have announced the launch of the Laetitia Collender Award, in memory of a popular teacher from Putney in West London who was a passionate supporter of the national language competition.

Good luck to all the finalists and a big ngiyabonga to everyone who participated in the challenge and helped us raise money for such a good cause.

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