An attack on Human Rights?


Today’s Octpowrimo prompt wants us to find something in the news on which to base today’s poem.

I rarely look at the Daily Mail website because its inanity usually makes me angry at the decline in journalism, but this story caught my eye. A London school is banning urban slang words which litter the kids’ normal speech. It’s going to be awfully quiet at the Harris Academy

Harris Academy

London Academy bans students from saying ‘coz’, ‘ain’t’, ‘like’, ‘innit’ and ‘bare’ in crackdown on urban slang, claims MP
Read more:
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An attack on human rights.

Ban urban slang?You wha… ? like as if you could, like.
Wha’ r’you like? Canu(glottal stop)e or wha?
Today’s aint’s tomorrow’s posh, yeah?
Y’know, that list has words I never heard of
Bare? I fough’ that meant naked. But no.
It means a lot of, very, or I don’t belieeeeeve it.
Extra? More than usual, another one. Y’know.
Nah. It’s out of place, inappropriate,
basically, anything that shouldn’t be there, innit.
Y’know we’ll be needing the Urban Dictionary*.
to follow a yoof conversation soon , yeah?

*To find more of these strange locutions, go to

I quote from the school’s website:

Welcome to
Harris Upper Norwood

Harris Academy Upper Norwood combines the traditional values of smart uniform and good discipline with the best of modern teaching and technology.

We aim to give every student the knowledge, tools and support to fulfil their academic and social potential. We specialise in Mathematics and Enterprise. Through these new, very relevant specialisms, we will create a vibrant and exciting Academy, 

Am I missing something? Mathematics a “new” specialism? Pythagoras and Euclid and Sister Katherine at my old school must be rolling at top speed in their graves.


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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25 Responses to An attack on Human Rights?

  1. … language like everything else evolves, over and over again… just the way it is and has always been.


  2. colonialist says:

    That initiative is spiffing, what!
    I would say it is a case of an attack on Human Wrongs …


  3. Like this is so funny I actually LOL~ I jus’ finish reading such a fine poem by Anzaa Makina where he writes in his own dialect in such a way I could hear his smooth African voice in my ear, see his unknown face before me, know his heart. Who can change slang? What is English if not a sponge. We pick it up, turn it around, change its spellings, its sounds, its meanings endlessly -town to town, county to county, state to country. We speak it, we sing it, we write it on the walls, English wins the way all the isles who speak English win by being versatile, by seeking to change. When we rigidify, when we stop, the language and the culture dies. I FLAT OUT loved this, Viv!!


  4. this is fun… can take my Swedish references.. and try to ban all words we borrow from English… ha.. But languages change naturally


  5. catterel says:

    Hey Viv – sick! wicked! Or in old fashioned speak, tophole and wizard!


  6. Christine says:

    Wow, that is like crazy good! 🙂


  7. Pseu says:



  8. you used slang words and made it awesome! its a new thing to read! i love what you write, each time its something.. new.. like an experiment or so! successful experiments!


  9. I love this. My son is our little grammar officer – if we say gonna or yeah or the like he asks “What does that mean?” The thing is with a child with autism, this can become sort of annoying. He has learned some new words – colloquial English has its day… or at least a couple moments in the day, right?

    I really appreciate you were able to write in this manner. I don’t know if I could! :~)


  10. This is terrific! Great subject matter, though it’s ridiculous that the school is trying to enforce this. HA! If they had a big “SLANG” jar, they’d be rich! Really clever poem – very funny!


  11. Viv you can make your poem into a rap song. 🙂


  12. Shah Wharton says:

    After a few giggles, raised eyebrows at the brilliance of your poem, I exhale and shake my head. I taught 6th Form Psychology for a while and reading their essays was often exasperating enough, let alone listening to their conversations. And mathematics is not a specialism, my gosh! I hated / was awful at it, but it’s mandatory, surely? Great write Viv. X


  13. brian miller says:

    haha…good luck with that…i think it is a limit they can not enforce and will soon end up either with very high delinquency numbers or giving up….smiles…fun piece v


  14. Janet knight says:

    Hi Viv, I read your blog everyday, and love it. Glad your feeling better. I do not usually comment, but love this! Very funny.


  15. Rant aside, I think you should send this poem somewhere. It’s fresh, relevant and fun.


  16. Ron Potter says:

    good take on the prompt and fun work with the slang.


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