KS3 English Language
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from Parlyaree to Polari -
a bona history
by Andrew Dobbin
LGBT History Month
Learning Objectives:
LO1 - Understanding and responding to what speakers say in formal and informal contexts
LO2 - Recognise different conventions and forms in speech
LO3 - Broaden their experience of a wide range of texts and express preferences and opinions
LO4 - Develop an informed understanding of how ideas, experiences and values are portrayed in different cultures
LO5 - Exploring language variation and development according to history, place, culture, society
LO6 - Consider how and why spoken English varies in a range of cultural contexts
By the end of this lesson:
ALL of you understand that slang has two purposes – to include and exclude, and that LGBT people have their own slang.

MOST of you understand there was a time when LGBT people needed Polari as a method of staying safe.

SOME of you may understand the concept of Polari being an anti-language as part of an anti-society. You may be able to identify modern examples of an anti-society.
Vocabulary
slang
colloquialism
Polari
anti-society
anti-language
Starter Activity
different words for…
Main Activity 1
What is Polari?
Look at this sentence. It contains 6 Polari words, each of which has a different origin:
My bencove John, who’s a real bona omee, has a chavvy called Amy who has blue minces and blond riah.
Main Activity 2
Developing a Polari Vocabulary
From 1965-1968, Round The Horne was one of the most popular programmes on BBC Radio.
Two of the most well-loved characters were Julian and Sandy, a pair of camp out-of-work actors with a tendency to speak in a peculiar, funny sounding language they called Polari.
Write down as many of these words as you can hear. Don’t worry about spelling.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Click the play button below to start the audio clip.

Main Activity 3
Put the vocabulary you have acquired so far into a few sentences.
Plenary
Paul Burston describes Polari as a ‘playful’ language.
Do you agree?
Why? Who used it?
Why was it so popular on Round The Horne?
but
Dr Baker talks about ‘codes’ and ‘euphemisms’ being necessary for gay men in the 1950s and 1960s
Why?
Homework
Research
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) and
Dr Alan Turing (1912 – 1954)
find details about the last 5 years of their lives
more free lesson plans available at:
www.the-classroom.org.uk