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             Unrelated Incidents

                       Tom Leonard
          Unrelated Incidents
Key teaching points:    Key Terms:
• To read the poem      • Accent
• To understand the
  poet‟s attitude to    • Dialect
  language and social   • Standard English
  class.
                        • R.P.
• To understand the
  methods employed in
  this poem
• To make comparisons
  with „Search for My
  Tongue‟
                          The Poet
•   Tom Leonard is from Glasgow. The poem expresses his anger about
    the way that the BBC News broadcasts were monopolised by people
    with „posh‟ southern accents.
•   The poem is humorous and full of contradictions. He is being
    deliberately provocative to make us think about the issues.
•   Tom Leonard is best known for poetry written in the urban speech of
    the Glasgow area, a mode which was revolutionary and innovative
    when his first collection Six Glasgow Poems was published in 1969.
•   His work has exposed the pernicious condescension in the literary
    establishment towards the vernacular of working class people, in both
    the spoken and the written word. He is motivated by a fiercely honest,
    socialist conviction.
•   In his editorial introduction to Radical Renfrew: Poetry from the French
    Revolution to the First World War (1990), he lambasts language
    snobbery and the literary values that oppress those who 'had lost the
    right to equality of dialogue with those in possession of Queen's
    English or "good" Scots'.
            Key Terms
• What do we mean by accent?

• What do we mean by dialect?

• How has the spelling been changed to
  suggest a Glasgow accent?
              The speaker
• Who is supposed to be speaking the poem?

• What point is the presenter making?
              Unrelated Incidents
Contradictions:
• The newsreader is talking in a strong working class
  Glaswegian accent BUT: - while talking in this accent
  he claims to be speaking with a “BBC accent” (i.e. a
  posh southern accent – or Received Pronunciation)
• While speaking in a Glaswegian accent he says that
  using such an accent would make people question
  the truth of what he is saying.
• The newsreader says that people who talk in a
  Glasgow accent are “scruff”.
The poet disagrees with this
       The contradictions
• Why do you think the writer used these
  contradictions?

• To be deliberately provocative and to
  make the readers think about the points
  he is making

• Complete the following chart
                       Unrelated Incidents
                   The Poet and the Announcer
 The Announcer Says                        The Poet Thinks
A BBC (posh) accent is needed to
convince people that the news they hear
is the truth
People who talk with broad Scottish
accents are “scruffs”

If the announcer spoke in a broad
Scottish accent everyone would think he
was a scruff
A „correct‟ accent is important like
correct spelling

People who cannot or do not want to
speak in a „posh‟ southern accent should
shut up
  So, what is the difference
between the newsreader’s and
  the poet’s points of view?
            More contradictions
• Now try to find anything else in the poem
  that does not seem to make sense, for
  example:
        this
        is me tokn yir
        right way a
        spellin
Who are the final words of the
poem addressed to?


  How do you know?
                Look at the layout of the poem
• Why might it be written like this?
• What machine does a newsreader use so that they
  always look as if they facing the audience?
• The machine, an autocue, scrolls news so that it
  can be read.

• Now, using the following slide, write a few
  paragraphs comparing ‘Search for my Tongue’
  and ‘Unrelated Incidents’
              Comparing the poems
• Bhatt has written about . . . . . . . Her feelings
  about speaking two languages seem to be
  ……….
• Tom Leonard’s poem is on a similar subject
  in that . . . . . .
• The two poems use very different methods,
  for example . . . . . . .
• I think ……………….. is a more effective
  poem because ………………….. (Give
  examples)

				
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posted:2/6/2010
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