I SYMPATHISE with David Kirkwood (letters, March 9) over his laments about the state of Scottish pronunciation. I often wonder what we, the Scots, had against the letter ‘T’, but at least the glottal stop was ours and made us sound Scottish.

I remember when the rot set in. Circa 2010, watching telly and a SNP MP appeared and began speaking. What came out of his mouth sounded as if the letters ‘T’, ‘D’ and ‘R’ had been smashed in CERN’s Hadron Collider. He spoke about the “parliamendary pardy” and the “Scoddish” people.”

Now, I thought that he was having a laugh, but I now realise he was sending wee spies to seek out ways to create linguistic change in the way we speak. It worked. During lockdown I actually felt sicker when I heard our then leader saying “Scodland” and “Scorrish” than when I had the virus.

This mingle-mangle of our pronunciation has also crept into our media. Even my favourite newsreader, “I’m John Mackay!”, occasionally hands over to Raman for the “Scoddish sport” and Raman replies, “Thanks John. Scorrish foodball first.”

And don’t get me started on people like Allllllan Cumming who elongate the letter ‘l’. I often wake up from a hideous nightmare in which I’m strapped to a chair, Mr Cumming is dancing, laughing maniacally in my face whilst reciting over and over, “A lllion lllicked a llliger’s llliver and then lllicked its lllips!”

It’s not just pronunciation that annoys me. The way some fowks intone their sentences nips my neeps. I have (sorry, had) a friend, a man who, in his fifties and should know better, decided to adopt, out of the blue, what linguists call a “high-rising terminal”: the intonation of a sentence rises as if every statement is a question. This (former) friend has spent his whole life in Milngavie, but sounds as if he’s spent the last twenty in New York and failed an audition for Friends.

Word choice, especially amongst the young, is a source of great consternation too. As a teacher I hear teenagers talk daily. In the past, pupils would greet me with, “Alright sur?” Now they ask “Whassup dude?” When my temper was fraying, they might have invited me to, “Calm doon, sur.” These days I am invited to, “Just chill, bro.”

Once I heard a young boy say to his pal (sorry, “buddy”!) “Wanna come to my condo after school?”  I fought off my desire to grab the youngster by his jumper and roar in his face, “You don’t live in a condo, wee man! You live up a close in the east end!”

Okay, that’s that off my chest. I need to go and and lie down now. Wish me sweed dreams and no nighdmares starring Alllan Cumming.
Gordon Fisher, Stewarton.

No time for T at this school
ANENT recent letters regarding language, glottal stop etc:  I despair at broadcasters using tense incorrectly - ‘he was sat’ being particularly irksome.  My grandchildren are in Fife, and going to High School in Cupar where, apparently, the letter ‘T’ has been removed from the alphabet.
Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.

Timeless wisdom of Carnegie
LENNIE Pennie writes of public libraries in Scotland already closed and of plans to close more of them , and the strong objection in a number of communities to further closures (“Protecting our libraries helps everyone in the community”, March 9). 

It is to be hoped that more of the people in whose hands the decision-making on such matters rests , can be persuaded of the words once said by Andrew Carnegie – establishing a free library in any community that is willing to maintain and develop it was the best way to spend money. True to these words, Carnegie was involved in using much of his wealth to endow more than 2,500 libraries between 1873 and 1929 in many countries, including the USA, England, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland.

I write as one who remains very grateful for the use I once made of the excellent library facilities in Paisley and Glasgow. Lennie Pennie describes the many beneficial and profound effects of libraries upon the communities in which they operate , confirming the sentiments of Carnegie, who also observed that “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert”.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

The high cost of BID levies
TOURISM Minister Richard Lochhead would be wise to heed the call for “an extension to the parliamentary process on ‘tourist tax’, or visitor levy” because he and his fellow Ministers have failed to heed the concerns of small businesses levied under another ‘business tax’ - business improvement district (BID) levies. 

In Alloa businesses are having to pay a levy of  up to 320% of their non-domestic rateable value (NDR) to the local Alloa First BID company for the next five years, while in Scotland the norm for town centre BIDs is between 1% and 4% of NDRs.

But the ministers have shown no concern and no interest in altering the regulations to stipulate a 4% maximum. Their failure to address the issue of equity in these matters does not auger well for the Visitor Levy.

Do they care that self-catering accommodation in the BID area in Alloa is currently being charged a levy of 30% of their non-domestic rateable value by the local BID company? The proposed Visitor Levy will simply be seen as a second stealth tax designed to discourage small businesses in BID levied towns.

As Fiona Campbell of the Association of Scotland’s self-caterers said, “Small businesses  don’t just want to be listened to” - they actually want to be heard. I concur with Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourist Association that to avoid the mess of the short-term lettings licensing, things need to be better thought through, and this takes time.
Daphne Hamilton, Alloa.

Dying on the vine
NOT being a keen gardener or arborist, it took me some time to realise that a small tree in my garden was dying because a climbing vine was choking it to death by covering the leaves vital for its photosynthetic process. Regrettably, it was too late for that one but I noticed a silver birch had the same problem and spent the best part of a week removing the vine from it.
With this unfortunate experience and within my travels, I have become aware of many beautiful mature trees covered in these predatory and parasitical vines and hope that people will realise their harmful effect and remove them before it’s too late. If you value your trees, get rid of these vines.
Angus Macmillan, Meikle Boturich, near Balloch.