Letter: Verbal assault

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The Independent Culture
Sir: John Williams (letter, 25 November) only touches the tip of the iceberg when he writes of the "51st state" syndrome. Only this week my partner and I were intrigued but confused by a number of radio programmes on a variety of channels, all British.

The first discussed the relative merits of east and west coast holiday destinations. Apparently Bridlington and Blackpool have been replaced by large cities called Miami and San Francisco. This was followed by Britain's favourite DJ (sic) Chris Evans telling us that a wonderful book he had just read covered many topics "from A to Zee" and talking of the "lootenants" who ran his radio show.

Finally, on our local radio station, we were disappointed but not surprised to hear of a "football" -shaped hot-air balloon designed to fly at high altitude. Eventually we deduced that it was nothing of the sort, it was rugby ball-shaped.

As someone who works in magazines I am all in favour of the development of the English language in order to make it a comprehensible, simple and understandable tool. I do not believe, however, that this involves wholesale acceptance of another nation's fashionable terminology when it means that British media are rendered virtually meaningless to British listeners.

MICHAEL O'HARE

London HA6

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