DCSIMG

English evolution

Ross Muir’s objection to the ­apparently wrong use of the words “done”, “gone” and 
“went” in English (Letters, 29 November) is not quite as simple as he thinks.

If he accepts these usages as correct Scots, he would see them as vestigial markers of incipient bilingualism.

The only sin was to mix the languages when addressing an English-only speaker.

For example, in a Scots review (in Lallans Magazine) of a Scots book I produced recently, the lexicographer Dr Caroline Macafee kindly said: “Forde haes certes went the distance.”

Iain WD Forde

Main Street

Scotlandwell, Kinross-shire

To Vivien Devlin’s catalogue of English errors (Letters, 1 December) and others before her, can I add the errors in spoken English: viz, misplaced stress in words like “decade”, “debris”, “harass” and their derivatives. Also the now almost ubiquitous phatic expressions, “I mean” and “you know”, often both together and now appearing in print! If English is evolving, it is not for the better.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan

Edinburgh

 

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