How Are Language And Identity Shown In Poems?

1467 words - 6 pages

Speech is a significant factor that makes up a person's sense of identity. Many poets have wrote about their own and other people's dialect and language. They use the ideas of different cultures and traditions to highlight the fact that some people are wrongly treated differently because of independent qualities like their language. The poets Liz Lockhead, John Agard, Tom Leonard and Sujata Bhatt all express how differences in language collide, or eat up inside them. They believe that you are not yourself until you are true to your speech and accent. Some people take language as an asset, the little extra they didn't ask for. They wouldn't mind if it changed because it doesn't change their personality. Others disagree and argue other people might think of them in a different way if they had an altered accent or dialect. But most people agree on one thing, you can't choose they way you speak, it almost chooses you, and all you can do is enjoy it, just go along with it, or drastically change it. It's about pride, whether or not you are proud of it, or just don't care and the poets show they definitely care about theirs.Sometimes poets play around with Standard English, again like in English is a crazy language with play on words. There are many reasons for this, among them being that they were showing it's not so perfect, that it has flaws just like everything else. Like in English is a Crazy Language, McCullough says "sweetmeats aren't candies while sweetbreads aren't sweet are meat" which is a tongue twister as well as a play on words. Sometimes poets also mix Standard English with something else to show a comparison. Like in Kids Poem, Lockhead shows the Scottish accent, and follows it meaning the exact thing, but with a Standard English and "posh" accent, she shows how different they sound, but mean the same thing anyway.Sometimes poets use things like onomatopoeia, which is a word that sounds like what it means to get across to the reader how it is they speak. This is usually achieved without using Standard English. For example, in Kids Poem, by Liz Lockhead, she was saying "it was January, and a dull wet day", but instead used "it wiz January, and a gey dreich day". She did this to make the reader use the same language and accent she does, which also makes you use the beat and rhythm that she was thinking of when she wrote it. In another poem, Listen Mr Oxford Don by John Agard, he also uses this technique to illustrate his Jamaican accent. He says "Me not no Oxford don, me a simple immigrant" meaning "I am not an Oxford don, I am a simple immigrant". You cannot help but use a Jamaican accent when reading this. You don't even realise that you are doing it, and this is how effective this skill is. In Unrelated Incidents by Tom Leonard (a take on the so called "BBC" accent), Leonard uses non-standard English to convey a Scottish accent. The final poem that uses this technique of force and rhythm is Search for my tongue by Sujata Bhatt, although...

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