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Barr-Ass

I heard a reporter from the BBC World Service, Rob Broomby, announcing he was going to the Barr-Ass Market to quiz folks on their attitude to Scottish Independence. I couldn’t help by wonder where this exotic market might be. It turned out that he was he was going to The Barras in Glasgow. I’ve said it before, but I’m happy to say it again; proper pronunciation in the electronic media is as important as spelling in print media. Mispronouncing names shows a disgusting, nay disgraceful, contempt for both the people who live or have business in the place in question and the listener. It’s like saying “I don’t care how you peasants say the name of where you live, I’m from the BBC and I’ll say it anyway I bally-well choose.” It may seem ironic that someone so guilty of cultural imperialism would be attempting to get to grips with the issue of Scottish Independence. But it is not just Scots who are treated with contempt by the Home Counties Broadcasting Service. I remember the first result in the last British General Election was declared in Houghton le Spring near Sunderland. The cream of the BBC’s journalistic talent insisted on pronouncing the name “Howton”, when it’s actually “Hawtan”. I wonder how long a reporter who insisted on repeatedly calling the self-proclaimed Mother of Parliaments “Wast-meen-star” would last at the BBC. I can only imagine that the BBC’s Pronunciation Unit has been closed down. While I didn’t expect Mr Broomby to mimic some inhabitants of Scotland’s biggest city by pronouncing it “Glesga”, neither did I expect him to make one of the city’s institutions sound like a Middle Eastern souk. Mr Broomby, if you should read this; please note I took the trouble to find out how you spell your name.

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