Speak clearly

David Roch (Letters, 4 March) suggests that the Irish have “real” Irish accents and not “the grotesque vowels of the English ruling class” (whatever and whoever they may be).

Mr Roch may be more aware of the accents in his ancestral lands than I am, though every Irish aristocrat that I have ever heard sounds archetypally English.

However, his criticism of the way Scots speak is just political sour grapes.

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The English adopted the dialect of Chaucer because it was more comprehensible to northern and southern Englishmen than the dialects at those 
extremes.

People needed to understand one another, which is how the “Queen’s English” came about.

An early Caxton book recounts how men on a ship from London decided to buy eggs from a farmer’s wife they hailed on the bank of the Thames a few miles downstream.

When they asked for eggs, she apologised saying she did not speak French, which puzzled them. One of them, however, understood and explained that “eggs” were what she called “eyren” and then she understood.

Likewise, someone I know could not understand anything his wife and her family were talking about when they blethered in Doric.

Mr Roch should realise that language is a means of communication and, if we all speak in a way which is impenetrable, we will not be understood.

Finding a means by which we can all understand one another is surely what communication is about, or does he not understand that?

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive

Edinburgh