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The poem, A Tale of Two Tongues, by Earl McKenzie shows Miss Ida as a woman

who uses both the Standard English and Creole. Her choice of language depends mainly on
context. The attitude to language also plays a role in which language used as she deems one
more superior to the other.
Firstly, stanza one uses the Standard English whereas stanza two uses the Creole. In
stanza one, Miss Ida uses a choice of words that are firm and as polished, to describe her
graces and prayer. The language used reflects spiritual. With the Creole however she shifts to
Creole lexicon with the mention of su-su, and preckeh which is the tongue of the markets
and fields. The Standard English gave a formal register to which scholars could not fault her
diction, while the second stanza with Creole, had a casual register. The casual register was
due to the use of Creole terms. A distinct difference was seen between the languages used in
the poem.
Secondly, the language used differs due to her attitude towards that language. Miss
Ida uses the Creole to address her fellow mortals as she sees Creole as the language of
labrish. The Creole is less respectful, informal and substandard when compared to the
Standard English and can only be used when trying to get hard-eared pickney to listen.
Meanwhile, she views the Standard English as a more dignified manner of speaking and
superior to the Creole. She speaks English only to God as Standard English is the language
of holy things and God deserves a grammar of respectability. She appreciates both
languages but thinks that each has its suitable time and place.
Furthermore, this poem could be enhanced through a televised reading. The narrator
of the poem would try to imitate Miss Ida through the use of verbal and non-verbal
communication. With the broadcast, non-verbal communication can be witnessed. The
persons tone of voice can be heard and would show the shift between the two languages
used. The change in register between formal and casual would also be defined. Pronunciation
of the Creole lexicon such as facety men would also enhance the poem. The persons body
language can also be viewed while they speak which would enhance the poem as it adds
meaning to what is being said. The televised version of the poem would allow a better grasp
of Miss Idas attitude to the languages used.
Overall, Miss Ida uses both languages within the poem. She uses either language
depending on the context which explores her attitude to the languages seen. Her attitude that
Standard English is more respectful than Creole, can be enhanced through a televised
reading.