The Plurilingual Prize is new to the SLC writing contest in 2021. This prize reflects one of the contest’s foundational goals of recognizing and celebrating the excellence of multilingual and/or plurilingual writing done at SFU.

What is the Plurilingual Prize?

The prizes in this category will be awarded to papers that showcase the writer's skills across languages and writing strategies. In particular, this prize focuses on the writer's plurilingual approach to writing and their incorporation of multiple languages and/or multiple forms of English into their writing. 

Note: papers written for SFU courses can be revised to bring in multiple languages and other plurilingual writing strategies. 

The Plurilingual Prize Writing Prompt

For the Plurilingual Prize only students can submit either

1. a paper originally written for an SFU course, or

2. a paper written specifically for the writing contest.

Papers written for the contest should address this prompt:

Write a 1,250 to 2,500 word paper that engages plurilingual writing strategies to tell your readers about the way you use language(s) in your learning. Your reflections can include your language use both inside and outside of the classroom and in ways that are visible to others (example, in your Canvas responses) and invisible to others (example, in your personal notetaking, use of translation programs, etc.). How do these visible and invisible aspects of your language use come together to support your learning in an English dominated environment?

For the purposes of the writing contest, plurilingual writing strategies include:

  • Papers that use multiple languages in the writing
  • Papers that use multiple styles/dialects/forms of English in the writing
  • Papers that engage approaches to writing outside of the standardized academic conventions
  • Papers that engage with the relationship between language, knowledge, and culture in their content
  • And any combinations of the above

Who can enter this category? 

The Plurilingual Prize is open to all eligible undergraduate students* at SFU. 

The Plurilingual Prize is intended to recognize excellent engagement with plurilingualism in writing: the focus of this category is on the writing and rhetorical strategies used in the paper, not on the identity of the author. Multilingual writers are not required to submit for the Plurilingual Prize - students who self-identify as English language learners, EAL, ESL, etc. are welcome to submit to any category of the contest for which they are eligible. 

We hope that students will submit papers in this category that use more than one language, the writing must still be comprehensible in English for our judges. It is also possible to submit papers to this category that are solely or primarily written in English, but that engage with forms of written English outside of the dominate academic English paradigm. Resources and examples are provided below. 

* To be eligible, students must be working on their first undergraduate degree. 

Criteria for Adjudication 

Higher order concerns

  • The paper’s central focus, hypothesis, or observation is engaging and richly developed
  • Research is employed in developing the key ideas of the paper (as appropriate).
  • A nuanced understanding of the subject matter is evident throughout the paper.
  • The writing style engages the reader.
  • The paper reflects the principles of inclusive and antiracist writing.
  • For papers that are written by or about Indigenous Peoples, or about Indigenous topics, the writing reflects the principles outlined in Dr. Gregory Younging's book Elements of Indigenous Style.
  • The writing demonstrates authorial choices related to structure and organization.

Lower order concerns

  • Attention has been paid to the links between paragraphs and arguments.
  • Vocabulary and sentence structures are well-chosen to support the paper.
  • Papers show evidence of thoughtful revision/editing.

Judges must give equitable consideration to all writers. The contest welcomes papers written "with an accent" and papers that challenge the traditional hegemonic norms of academic writing. With these criteria, the SLC reaffirms the CCCC's statement on Students' Right to their own Language

The excellence of all papers should be judged consistently, using the criteria above; however, the Writing Contest committee acknowledges that excellence in writing is not culturally or disciplinarily neutral. Everyone involved with the writing contest will work toward greater awareness of our unconscious biases about what makes for “good” writing as we engage with student submissions. 

Resources and Examples

Lori Salem from Temple University and Leslie Allison from Rowan University Writing Centre have put together this chart that describes the choices that writers make when code-meshing (i.e., working with more than one language or language style in their writing). The chart also describes the degree of potential challenge for the reader that can arise from these choices. 

Lori and Leslie also compiled a number of samples of different published texts that use code-meshing in different ways. 

Students interested in entering this category, may also find it useful to read this chapter:

Marshall, S. (2021). Plurilingualism and the Tangled Web of Lingualisms. The Routledge Handbook of Plurilingual Language Education, 46-64.

Learn more

You are welcome to reach out to us with any questions. Email slc-writing-contest@sfu.ca