Six O’Clock News

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.

Summary of Six O’Clock News

  • Popularity of “Six O’Clock News”: “Six O’Clock News” by Tom Leonard, a Scottish poet, critic, and writer, is an interesting poem. The poem seems to have appeared in 1976 with some unrelated events. It shows that even cockney and colloquial English or language could be used for poetic recitation and that it is not necessary that the poetic language should be grand or elevated. The unique quality of this poetic output lies in the truthful account that this poem has in its Glasgow accent.
  • “Six O’Clock News” As a Representative of Indigenous Dialects: The poem presents a BBC newscaster using his original dialect to show that only standardized news reports on BBC win credibility and legitimacy. If he goes to state the same in his original accent, the people would not trust his news report. He goes on to say that it is supposed that the right spellings, correct pronunciation, and correct accent are key to success in winning legitimacy as people only trust those who have a good and standardized accent. His Glasgow identity makes the poet satirically mocks the BBC presentation, saying that although the majority of the people speak this dialect, only the BBC newscaster has legitimacy and credibility.
  • Major Themes in “Six O’Clock News”: Indigenousness, pride, and satire of the institutional credibility are the major themes of the poem. The entire style of this poetic output shows indigenousness at work as the poet does not want to write poetry in standard English. He wants to show that he is from Glasgow and mocks the BBC, saying that although his accent and his dialect would not be considered credible, he has pride in his colloquial style. Despite this pride and native quality, he has no credibility and the people would not trust or believe him.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Six O’Clock News”

literary devices are tools the writers use in their writings to convey their message appealingly. Tom Leonard has also has used these devices successfully as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /e/ in “this is thi” and the sound of /o/ in “it wuz troo” or “vooz doant no.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /t/ in “to tok.”
  3. Bias: The poem shows the public bias through its use of dialect.
  4. Colloquialism: The poem shows the use of colloquialism as the entire poem is written in the dialect of Glasgow.
  5. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /t/ in “to tok it. This”, “the sound of /th/ in “thi trooth” and the sound of /c/ in “yi canny talk.”
  6. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example;

this is
the six a clock
nyooz. belt up.

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Tom Leonard has used imagery in this poem such as “way ti spell”, “scruff tokn” and “yooz doant no.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different in nature. The poet has truth as a metaphor for discovery.
  3. Simile: The poem shows the use of a simile such as “Voice lik / wanna yoo.”
  4. Slang: The poem uses slangs at several points such as “belt up.”
  5. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. Here the poem has used the symbols of possibly Highland Scottish dialect to show public trust and faith.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Six O’Clock News”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: The poem shows the use of an informal tone with informal language.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: Although the poem does not follow any strict rhyming pattern, except at some places it follows ABA rhyme pattern.
  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. The poem has no stanza break. It is just a single stanza poem.

Quotes to be Used

These lines from “Six O’Clock News” are useful to quote about the importance of dialects.

is ma trooth.
yooz doant no
thi trooth
yirsellz cawz
yi canny talk
right. this is
the six a clock
nyooz. belt up.