30 JANUARY 1942, Page 10

I claim that I have some right to discuss this

symptom, since I am myself, I honestly believe, immune to the disturbance by which it is evoked. It might well occur, for instance, that some friend or announcer were to mention the capital of Persia and to pronounce the word " Teeheeran." Now I was born in Teheran, have lived there for some years, and retain for the place that pang of home-sickness which is familiar to those who have experienced the silence of Persia, the silence of time and space. Yet when I hear my birthplace mispronounced I am not conscious - of any nervous disturbance. I might, I suppose, experience a movement of elation, and feel flattered in my self-esteem on discovering that, whereas I know how to pronounce the word " Teheran," the announcer (who in all other matters is so far better informed than I) does not. Conversely, I might feel annoyed that a place so famous in song and story should be rendered on the wireless in an incorrect and indeed ridiculous form. I do not, in fact, experience these stirrings either of pleasure or of pain, since I realise that, although I happen to know how to pronounce " Teheran " or even " Veliki," I had no idea, until informed by an enraged rubber-planter, that Khota Baru was pronounced, not "Khota Bahru," but "Khota Baroo." The irritation so widely aroused by mispronunciation is, I sup- pose, due, not so much to vanity, as to .the almost intolerable sense of frustration which now weighs upon the middle-aged. If one yearns to place a life-time of experience at General Auchin- leck's disposal, one finds, I suppose, some slight relief in getting very angry when the ".0 " in Senussi is pronounced short instead of long. And if that in truth be the explanation, then I for one am indeed ready to receive all the slings and arrows of such outrageous fortune. But some general principle, none the less, must be sought.