Ladies and gentlemen, I bring before you today the plight of the letter "c", which recent evidence suggests is fast becoming an endangered species. Curiously, it starts out in a really strong position, being among the first three letters that most children encounter when learning the alphabet. You would think that this might endear them to it in later life, but it seems instead that they are abandoning it with alarming alacrity. Leaving aside the technical etymology of the letter "c" since Roman times, the current day problem seems to stem largely from the casual adoption of American usage, where they have decided that in its soft form it can often be better represented by an "s". Witness the frequent appearance on this forum of words such as offense and license, not to mention the unintentional use of the verb advise in place of its nounal counterpart. Not content with that, our transatlantic cousins have also set about supplanting the hard sound of the letter "c" with a "k". Of course, this particular infringement has been heavily influenced by the Germanic convention (what with their Konzerten and the suchlike), but the Americans are doing their best to promote the trend with their globe-trotting brand names. This week's news that the doughnut-peddling chain Krispy Kreme is intent on expanding its UK operation is yet another blow. So inured is the British public to the ongoing diminution of the letter "c" that the appearance of memorablilia bearing the monograms C and W ahead of this year's royal wedding was met with complaints of a printing error, with people pointing out that "Kate" was spelt with a K (unless your surname's Blanchett, of course). Unfortunately, we have already seen signs that the letter "c" is turning feral in the face of this onslaught, as it starts to carve out a new niche for itself in txtspeak as a substitute for homophonous words such as see and sea. It can only be a matter of time until some hip bishop of a coastal diocese declares to his congregation via Twitter: "C U in my C by the C this Sunday." (Which would no doubt illicit the waggish response: "C, mon signor.") If we lose the letter "c", just think what else we stand to lose: the C-Class; the starting point of the diatonic scale; a handy way of representing 100; and, er, Cheddar cheese, to name but a few. So, fellow members of mbclub.co.uk, I beseech you to afford the letter "c" the respect it rightly deserves: rescue it from a life on the tweets and help to hold off the day when we find ourselves belonging to a "Mersedes-Benz Klub".