Breakup songs and voicing F-words | Brief letters

Language discoveries | Islamophobia | Europe’s beaches | Emotional music

The idea that the speech sounds “f” and “v” are related to eating soft food (Scientists’ jaw-dropping finding: how soft food helped us voice F-words, 15 March) becomes tricky to maintain when you consider the origins of those sounds in various languages. For example, the modern Greek “f” and “v” come from an earlier aspirated “p” and non-aspirated “b”, whereas the late Latin and modern Italian “v” comes from a classical Latin “w”-like sound, both coexisting with “b”. I don’t think you can put that down to a sudden liking for porridge among Mediterranean peoples.
Michael Bulley
Chalon-sur-Saône, France

• In view of the mass killing at a mosque in New Zealand by a rightwing gunman, maybe the chairman of the Conservative party should consider taking action over the Tory party member, photographed with Boris Johnson in 2015, who recently wrote that he was “going through a few magazines the other day down at the local mosque … then the rifle jammed” (Tory chairman accused of being selective on Islamophobia, 12 March)?
Christopher Clayton
Waverton, Cheshire

• True, Scotland does have some lovely beaches, but at least one Scottish beach was mentioned in your feature in last Saturday’s travel feature: Seacliff in East Lothian (Letters, 11 March).
Marie Paterson
Nuneaton, Warwickshire

• I am amazed that Alexis Petridis in his list of top breakup songs (G2, 15 March) left out Stay with Me by Lorraine Ellison. This classic 1966 song is an impassioned plea from a soul being ripped apart. “Where did you go to when things went wrong?” I would have stayed 10 times over.
Martyn Day

• It is hard to credit that Bacharach and David’s Walk On By did not make the list.
Michael Cunningham

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