Unrelated Incidents By Tom Leonard Link to GCSE Bitesize video on slide three About the Poet • Leonard is a proud Scot who challenges social hierarchy and stereotyping in this poem • Although his passport identifies him as a British citizen, Tom Leonard sees himself as thoroughly Scottish • Almost all of his poetry is written in his own Glaswegian dialect. • His aim has always been to make poetry using 'my own ordinary working-class West of Scotland speech, that is still poetry'. • He says he is interested in 'the political nature of voice in British culture'. Click on poem image for video link This poem is Why do you written in a think Leonard Scottish doesn’t use accent. capital letters? A “BBC accent” is received pronunciation – Does accent really no accent. BBC news affect if you believe readers used to speak things? without accents. What effect does Why end with the phonetic “belt up”? spelling have on What affect you? will it have on the reader? Who can’t talk right? Laid out to look Those without an like an auto- accent? Or those with? cue. What is this and why? this is thi six a clock news thi Poem is written phonetically No punctuation or capital man said n to force the reader to use a letters because this is Glaswegian accent. poem that is meant to be spoken 5 thi reason Could also be to make it a talk wia more difficult to understand which links to the main focus BBC accent of the poem iz coz yi No end-stopping which widny wahnt reinforces the notion that this is an auto-cue 10 mi ti talk and is meant to be spoken aboot thi trooth wia voice lik wanna yoo Truth (“trooth”) is a scruff. if recurring idea in this poem a toktaboot thi trooth Leonard claims that we lik wanna yoo wouldn‟t trust someone with Ironic as the a regional accent (in this scruff yi case, working-class speaker is talking like Glaswegian) to give us the widny thingk “wanna yoo news. scruff” whilst it wuz troo. Would we? explaining why jist wanna yoo What are the prejudices we he doesn‟t have for different accents? scruff tokn. thirza right Clearly the poet feels some connection with working way ti spell class Glaswegian society ana right way as it‟s written in the first person to tok it. this is me tokn yir Truth is the recurring message of this poem. In what way? We trust RP or „BBC‟ We mistrust accents regional accents right way a spellin. this Does RP also give Accents can alienate neutrality? A Fairness is ma trooth. people through difficulty that doesn‟t favour yooz doant no in understanding anyone? thi trooth yirsellz cawz Who is it that “canny talk right”? yi canny talk “belt up” meaning shut right. this is up is a humorous end the six a clock to a poem which is focused entirely on the nyooz. belt up way we speak and the effect this has on us Answer the following in full sentences • Should it be seen as serious and almost angry or humorous? Could it be both? • In what way does the poet suggest that speech is connected to attitude and behaviour? • How can speaking in certain ways give you a form of power or authority? • Do you think that the poet truly believes what he is saying? Do you agree? • This poem was written in 1975, are the points it makes still valid today? Where else do we come across accents and RP and what effect do they have? Writing responses to poetry In this poem, the man on the 6 o'clock news says the reason he has to talk in a BBC accent is because otherwise people would think he was making it all up. They'd think it was just some tramp in off the street. This shows that people are prejudiced against people who come from Scotland, because they say things like 'widny'. If I was Scottish I'd think that was unfair. It shouldn't matter what accent you talk in. There's a boy in our class whose from Liverpool and people used to tease him about it but now he's just accepted like anyone else. • Candidate is starting to think about the sort of issues the poem raises, and is making connections • The weakness is that this paragraph is about general prejudices - the poem is more specifically about power and authority • Slightly hazy focus on the actual poem • Suggests D/E grade candidate? Writing responses to poetry Tom Leonard writes his poem in a Scottish accent because that's how he talks, it's part of his identity. But even if you live in Scotland the news you watch is broadcast from London, and spoken in someone's else's voice. The view that there is a 'right' way to talk the English language is arrogant - who has the right to decide what counts as 'proper' English? The BBC accent also goes along with an English way of looking at things, which means that the Scots point of view gets ignored. That's why Scotland voted for devolution. If you come from Glasgow, like Tom Leonard, then it must seem like someone else's ideas are being imposed on you, that you are being told to 'belt up'. •good general conclusion, clearly expressed •focuses on issue of language and power •blends personal ideas with understanding of the poet's argument •suggests an A/B grade candidate?
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