I AM in complete agreement with Stephen McGinty (Perspective, 25 February) regarding BBC4 – the one channel that still embodies the Reithian doctrine: inform, educate and entertain.
But Stephen, please give Inspector Montalbano another chance. The Noir Nordic and French dramas that we both enjoy are superbly served by their subtitling, giving the viewer an opportunity to learn more of the language.
And the same is true of this latest Sicilian series – but you must concentrate. Italian is a fluid, rhythmic and musical language of great beauty. The very reason the natives can enunciate so passionately and rapidly!
Think not only of opera, but also of everyday terminology, engineering for instance. As a mechanic who spent several years working on Fiat, Ferrari (translates as “Smith” by the way), Alfa Romeo, Lancia etc, I rejoice in the gorgeous glossary: valvula di escapamento (exhaust valve); sedici cilindri (16 cylinders); superleggera (light weight); quattroporte (four doors); testa rossa (red head) etc.
These phrases are designed to be sung, not merely spoken like their grey English equivalents. I will continue my education by recording each episode, thus accelerating my linguistic understanding via the pause and rewind button.
Station Road, Whitecross
Linlithgow, West Lothian