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Unrelated Incidents

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					                        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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