Battle of the Linguists

Battle of the Linguists

By Georgina Oates (L6, W)

The Modern Languages department hosted a debating competition against Dean Close, Pate’s, Bournside and Balcarras.  These debates were held in French, Spanish and German, and involved pupils from both the Upper and Lower Sixth.  We did not know the motions of the debates until 15 minutes beforehand, so they were based upon general knowledge, rather than specific knowledge and preparation.

The French debates consisted of several rounds, with three Cheltenham College teams. Shakhin Zamani (L6, NH) and Tommy Maddinson (L6, S) represented the Lower Sixth, while Georgie Rigg (U6, Q), Tess Grafin-Pachta (U6, W), Merlin Miller (U6, L) and Polina Kulish (U6, Ch) represented Upper Sixth. These debates were very well fought, with Merlin and Polina winning two consecutive rounds, before unfortunately losing to the Dean Close team of two Oxbridge candidates in the final. The titles for these debates ranged from ‘Il faut avoir le droit de vote à 16 ans’ to ‘Les vaches sont meilleures que les chevaux’ and a highlight was an all College semi-final with Shakhin and Tommy just losing out to Merlin and Polina on the topic of whether Harry Potter should be studied in schools.

In the Spanish debates, we entered two teams; Lucas Bonfante (U6, H) and Ankita Mediratta (U6, W) as one, and Theo Hunt (L6, H) and Tommy Severn (U6, H) in the other.  Lucas and Ankita won these debates with a convincing argument which dominated the floor.  As with the French, these debates included from ¿Brexit o Brexin? and ‘Castro ¿dictador o ídolo?’- very relevant motions in our current affairs.


The German debates followed a slightly different structure as there were only four participants - myself and Jack McClure (L6, L), and then two visiting Upper Sixth students from Dean Close.  We split into teams so that we had one Lower and Upper Sixth in each team before competing in three different debates; ‘Das Leben ist heutzutage besser als vor 150 Jahren’, ‘England ist besser als Deutschland’ and ‘Es gibt zu viele Regeln und Zwänge in unserer Gesellschaft. Freiheit ist das höchste Gut’.  

These debates were an exciting chance for many of our linguists to expand their speaking ability in a quick and tense environment, with no preparation beforehand.  Overall, as a department, these were very successful debates with finalists in all three different languages.  

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