Word perfect

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May I point out to Dr Mary Brown (Letters, 1 May) that since the word “homo” can refer to 
anything of the human species, an argument aimed personally at her is just as much ad hominem as one directed at a male opponent?

Gavin Douglas argued in 1513, and it was a stock example even in his time, that one respect in which his own vernacular was inferior to Latin was that the classical tongue had a word for “human being” (homo as opposed to animal) and one for “adult male” (vir as opposed to femina) whereas Scots had to make do with man for both senses.

Derrick McClure

Rosehill Terrace

Aberdeen