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Unrelated Incidents By Tom Leonard

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1 Unrelated Incidents By Tom Leonard
Link to GCSE Bitesize video on slide three

2 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'.

3 Laid out to look like an auto-cue. What is this and why?
This poem is written in a Scottish accent. Why do you think Leonard doesn’t use capital letters? Click on poem image for video link A “BBC accent” is received pronunciation – no accent. BBC news readers used to speak without accents. Does accent really affect if you believe things? What effect does the phonetic spelling have on you? Why end with “belt up”? What affect will it have on the reader? Who can’t talk right? Those without an accent? Or those with? Laid out to look like an auto-cue. What is this and why?

4 this is thi six a clock news thi man said n thi reason a talk wia
BBC accent iz coz yi widny wahnt mi ti talk aboot thi trooth wia voice lik wanna yoo Poem is written phonetically to force the reader to use a Glaswegian accent. Could also be to make it more difficult to understand which links to the main focus of the poem No punctuation or capital letters because this is poem that is meant to be spoken 5 No end-stopping which reinforces the notion that this is an auto-cue and is meant to be spoken 10

5 scruff. if a toktaboot thi trooth lik wanna yoo scruff yi widny thingk
Truth (“trooth”) is a recurring idea in this poem scruff. if a toktaboot thi trooth lik wanna yoo scruff yi widny thingk it wuz troo. jist wanna yoo scruff tokn. thirza right way ti spell ana right way to tok it. this is me tokn yir Leonard claims that we wouldn’t trust someone with a regional accent (in this case, working-class Glaswegian) to give us the news. Would we? What are the prejudices we have for different accents? Ironic as the speaker is talking like “wanna yoo scruff” whilst explaining why he doesn’t Clearly the poet feels some connection with working class Glaswegian society as it’s written in the first person

6 right way a spellin. this is ma trooth. yooz doant no thi trooth
Truth is the recurring message of this poem. In what way? We trust RP or ‘BBC’ accents We mistrust regional accents right way a spellin. this is ma trooth. yooz doant no thi trooth yirsellz cawz yi canny talk right. this is the six a clock nyooz. belt up Does RP also give neutrality? A Fairness that doesn’t favour anyone? Accents can alienate people through difficulty in understanding Who is it that “canny talk right”? “belt up” meaning shut up is a humorous end to a poem which is focused entirely on the way we speak and the effect this has on us

7 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?

8 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?

9 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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