My college, Gonville & Caius, runs a series of annual competitions for Year 12 students in UK schools, and this year’s linguistics competition challenges students to come up with a language based around Lego! As the competition announcement says,
The term ‘language’ can refer to any coherent systematic communication system. Most of the time we encounter language that is spoken or expressed in writing; but language may also be expressed using other mediums — examples would include sign language and Braille. This year the Caius Linguistics Challenge will be to develop a communication system using Lego bricks (or similar) where the meaning of the language will be encoded in how the bricks are connected together.
The aim is for the Lego language/communication system to be able to express directions between two points on a map that’s provided, and participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible with using the shape, placement, and colour of Lego bricks to express elements of their language. You can use a free online Lego design tool (like this one) if you don’t happen to have any Lego bricks. All the other information on how to submit your entries is here. There are also prizes to be won – £600 for the first prize and £400 for the second (to be split between the student/s and their school)! So if you’re a Year 12 student in the UK who’s keen on language and/or Lego, why not have a go? (And if you’re a teacher or a parent, please do pass this on to any students who might be interested!)
There are also similar competitions (though not involving Lego) for history, engineering, and English: have a look at the college website for all the information on those challenges – and good luck to any entrants! I can’t wait to see what kinds of Lego languages people are going to come up with!