Why Scotch comes closer than Scots | Brief letters

British languages | Agamemnon | Harvey LeRoy ‘Lee’ Atwater | The Meaning of Life | Crocodiles

The four nations of Britain listed by Bede (Letters, 30 August) were still recognised by a Scottish friar in the late 1530s as “Ynglis, Scottis, Pichtis and Britonaris”, which suggests that “Scotch” is a closer pronunciation of the shortened form of “Scots” than the soft “S” now preferred in Scotland. Adam Abell of Jedburgh Greyfriars originally wrote his History of the World, entitled The Roit or Quheill (Wheel) of Tyme, in Latin, but translated it into “Ynglisis” (“English-ish”), partly to please Lord Seton of East Lothian and presumably because Ynglisis was the language of Lowland Scotland at that time.
Dr John Dent
Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire

• The most startling news in Monday’s Guardian (Wildfire breaks out near tomb of Agamemnon in Greece, 30 August) was that Agamemnon was killed during the Trojan war. This would certainly be news to Homer, Aeschylus and Sophocles, to name but three.
Rodney Brooke
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

• I assume that “Lee Twatwater” is Marina Hyde’s disparaging reference to Harvey LeRoy “Lee” Atwater, a US political consultant for the Republican party, notorious for his aggressive campaign tactics (Letters, 30 August). He died in 1991, rest his soul, assuming he had one.
Phil Coughlin
Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear

• Surely the phrase “just one more leetle mint” is enough to describe one of the most explosive meals in cinema (Letters, 30 August).
Allan McRobert
Kirkcaldy, Fife

• Finally, some incontrovertible good news: “Crocodiles are not native to Germany or any other part of Europe” (Swimming ban after ‘crocodile sighting’, 31 August). Phew!
Nic Madge
St Albans, Hertfordshire


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