Category Archives: Poetry

‘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