‘Six O’Clock News’ by Tom Leonard

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
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
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.

The content of the poem imagines a BBC newsreader explaining that if he read the news in Glaswegian dialect, people would not believe it.  He says there is a right way to speak and spell and that people who cannot do so clearly don’t know the truth and can’t be trusted. On the surface, therefore, the poem seems be criticising people who talk with a strong regional accent.   However, although the poem says these bad things about Scottish dialect, it is written in Scottish dialect.   The poem is therefore ironic – the message of the poem is exactly the opposite of what the ‘newsreader’ is actually saying. At first we think that the poem is criticising people who talk with a strong accent  but  the underlying message of the poem is that we are wrong to do so.  This is why the poem makes us think about our own prejudices.


The poem states: thirza right way ti spell ana right way to tok it”.  

  • Do you think that there is  a ‘right’ way to speak? Give reasons.
  • Do you ever use dialect or ‘slang’ in your conversations, emails or texts? If so, why?
  • Do you think that there is a ‘right’ way to spell? Think about ‘text language  and how often you use it.  Teachers often worry that shortening words or replacing letters with numbers in text messaging are bad habits that affect pupils’ ability to write properly. Do you agree or disagree with this? Would you use ‘text language’ in your school essays? Explain your answer.


Filed under Homework, Poetry

12 responses to “‘Six O’Clock News’ by Tom Leonard

  1. Katriona Tweedie

    1. I think there is not a ‘right’ way to speak because everyone speaks differently and is brought up in different enviroments. This would influence your accent and how you talk.
    2. I do use ‘slang’ in texts and e-mail because its quiker.
    3. There is a right way to spell but its ok to use the quicker way in unformal situations. I agree with it but I dont think it effects my spelling.


  2. Sam Davies

    Sam Davies
    1: No because people can understand most unformal speak and formal speak. I would let people read the news because they might have been brought up speaking like unformal because it doesn’t make them different.
    2: Yes I think because it’s easier and quicker and people understand it.
    3: I would if I could but people wouldn’t take it seriously e.g. if you wrote a essay for university they would look at the ones that are not in “text language”

  3. Lewis

    1. I think that there is a right way to speak but that it varies from where you come from
    2.I use slang when i am speaking to my friends and in texts but not a formal event or a class
    3.There is a proper way to spell but when your texting you can use slang but if your writing an essay you should use proper grammar

  4. stuart

    1.I don’t think that there’s a right way to speak because everyone speaks diffrently depending on where they’re from.
    2.Yes because it’s quicker and people can still understand what I’m saying.
    3.I don’t think that there is a right way to spell because as long as people understand what you are saying then it’s alright to shorten words. I don’t think that using text language is a bad habit because I can write without it when I need to but I wouldn’t write in text language in a school essay

  5. Glen Allan

    1. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to speak because everyone is their own self and has their own way to speak.
    2.I do, I ussually use it because I’ve been brought up with using those words and am used to using them
    3.I don’t thinks there is a “right” way to spell because some people may only speak slang and can only spell that way, I don’t think english teachers should worry that if childeren use text language because they only use it to save a few seconds of their lives and type a smaller version of the word. I wouldn’t use text language in a essay because I have grown up spelling in the english language and I think it would look strange in an essay

  6. Alex Darling:)

    I don’t think there is a right way to speak, as long as people can understand what you are saying then that is your right way to speak.
    I don’t normally use slang words when I write messages/texts because I find it easier to read in full&because I prefer writing like this.
    I think that there is a right way to spell because if you wrote an essay in text speak it would make people think that you weren’t very clever or professional. But it is fine to spell differently if you are writing a text or something because it doent really matter in that situation.
    Alex Darling:)

  7. Tom

    1.I don’t think there is a right way to “tok” , it depends on your background , the way you were brought up and who you spent time with.
    2.I do think it’s ok to use ‘slang’ in casual circumstances like text or emails , I use ‘slang’ when I talk to my friends , they can still understand me.
    3. If I was in formal conditions I would always use correct spelling and I could imagine a lot of students using text language in essays or writing tasks by accident. But this wouldn’t be much of a concern to me as I would most likely spot these mistakes while proof reading my work.


  8. 1. I don’t think there’s a right way to speak ,because there’s different languages and accents from all around the world !
    2. I use slang in texts because its easier and quicker to type ,and everyone understands most as some people call it text speak and some words have wriggled its way Into the dictionary so as ,omg,totes ect.
    3.well I think that there’s a right way to spell every language but,slang is just a form of short English ,so maybe that is why people have allowed it in te dictionary,I would only ever use slang in essays if the word was in the dictionary and for in with the sentence ,it can’t just be a sentence of long complex vocab and then aye,omg totes amazing ect.

  9. Emma Watson

    1. I dont think there is a right way to speak you should talk how you were brought up and how you want.
    2. I use slang in text messages or with friends it is easyer and they understand it.
    3. i think there is a ‘right’ way to spell but in texts it doesn’t matter. if you spell right everyone will understand. in an essay it wont look neat and it just wouldnt be the same. if we learnt text lanuage i think it would be wrong.


  10. Fraser

    I agree with stuart I do not believe there is a right way to talk as people originate from different background or speak a different dialect.
    2. yes I do because it is quicker and people understand it
    3.I do think there is a way to spell because if you were writing an essay you would not spell in text talk. I have spoken english my whole life so it is stange to see people spell. Even though i speak that way it does not ake it quicker it makes you think more.

  11. olivia thompson

    I think there is a ‘right’ way to speak and spell and the right way to is tho pronoun ce your ‘t’s and speak like the news people speak,speaking and spelling correctly will help you in future prefrences.i fo use slang in text only beacuse it is faster thanwringing the whole word,i dont think you should reallly use it becauyse it will start to become your daily vocab!

  12. Some really interesting answers everyone. We’ll be discussing this further in class and I’m looking forward to learning more in your personal essays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s