December 20, 1998
Regarding Joy Horowitz's "A Room With a View" (Nov. 22): I have taped above my desk the words that the author found copied by her father from Gustave Flaubert, along with her own conclusion: "The futility of words in the face of feeling; the longing for more. This is what my father the psychologist understood best. Still, we keep trying, because even as words fail us, the greater failure is in abandoning our hearts." Both should be made available in the Oxford Book of Quotations. I have more hope today because of this story and these two citations.
January 19, 1992
Anyone who gets angry enough to write a letter because she finds three words she's never heard of does not enjoy "learning new words." By throwing the unfamiliar at us, your Book Review is not--to quote Susan Groothuis (Letters, Dec. 29)--using "extraordinary methods to baffle and unsettle us." You are challenging us. I, for one, welcome it. EILEEN FLAXMAN, LOS ANGELES
October 29, 1989
It's unfortunate that the members of Guns N' Roses lack the maturity to deliver their message without having to make every fourth word a foul one. At the recent Coliseum concert, the guitar player served up some incredibly trite lead, but not before proving that, yes indeed, he was a member of GNR: He too has a marvelously varied vocabulary, which also contains only four-letter words--duhh. What a gem. What a sterling example for the kids who came to hear good music. What a jerk.
November 1, 2012 |
Maplewood, N.J., was one of the communities hit by Hurricane Sandy. Located about six miles west of Newark, Maplewood saw massive trees fall and lost much of its electricity. Downed power lines forced the community to cancel its Halloween parade. However, parts of its downtown did not lose power; that's where [words] bookstore is located. Co-owner Jonah Zimiles emailed to let us know the store is powered up and open. He wrote that the lights are on, neighbors are stopping by to charge up their phones, and readers are browsing.
June 25, 1989
In their June 11 letters denouncing "word taboos," Eric Borer and Evan S. Marlowe seem to be saying: Because our society is permeated with vulgarity, violence and crime and because "we have as much to fear from ribaldry as from dirty laundry," let us be rid of all taboos. If I understand their message, vice should not be taught as evil, because it is part of our society. This kind of mentality led to the downfall of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. RICHARD D. SWIFT Rancho Cucamonga
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 1990
The announcement that the UC San Diego Guardian has dropped "freshperson" from its "non-sexist language policy" in favor of "first-year student" (San Diego At Large, Jan. 10) points up, once again, the ridiculousness of trying to root out male-oriented words from the lexicon. Being a freshman is an honorable state, as is being a human or a woman. The suffix "-man" means person. It does not mean male. The words "man and "mankind" have always included males and females and are used generically to describe humans, as opposed to animals or other forms of life.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2013 |
An article in Friday's Times featuring centenarian and frequent letter writer Carleton Ralston caught the eye of reader Trent Sanders of La Canada Flintridge. Sanders is himself, to borrow reporter Gale Holland's phrase, a man of letters. Not only is he a regular correspondent to the Readers' Rep office, but he's had 54 letters to the editor published in The Times since 1985. "My compliments to Mr. Ralston," Sanders emailed. "Letters to the editor are one of the few ways an individual can influence public debate.
April 12, 2012 |
Baboons don't read, don't speak and perhaps can't understand language at all. But scientists have found that they can learn to recognize writing on a computer screen, identifying correctly most of the time which combinations of letters are words ("done," "vast") and which are not ("telk," "virt"). The discovery may help explain how reading evolved in humans, researchers said, bolstering a theory that the skill first arose from animals' ability to distinguish objects, rather than from the uniquely human demands of verbal communication.