YP Letters: Brought to book quite literally

Do pupils have access to sufficient books?
Do pupils have access to sufficient books?
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From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

A DELEGATE at the National Education Union conference poignantly identifies one of the joys of books which Kindle and iPads will never replicate (“Books now a luxury for the poor”, The Yorkshire Post, April 3): “The smell of a book, finding tickets and receipts that someone had left as a bookmark, echoes of the people who had been there before.”

I would add the intimacy of inscriptions in pen and ink written many, many years ago.

The delegate was raising concerns about funding cuts on libraries.

However, churlish as it may seem in the context of a worthy cause, it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to a linguistic aberration on the part of the delegate who is, after all, a member of the National Union of Teachers. She continues: “Many people out there are quite literally drowning and for them the library is a pair of armbands.”

Why ruin an excellent metaphor by prefacing it with “quite literally” which is by definition a contradiction of figurative speech?

Some readers have remarked on my pedantry in these columns. Yet I don’t mind modernisms and some errors of grammar and spelling.

Language is constantly changing, otherwise we would still be asking “what’s o’clock prithee?” instead of “ what time is it please?” No meaning is lost in the sentence: “This is a letter wot I have rote”, but the habitual use of a word such as “literally” when we don’t mean it is like crying wolf – if you used it to report that someone had actually died in a paroxysm of laughter no-one would believe you.

Misuse of words is the greatest threat to our language. Once valuable words such as ‘”literally”, “unique” and others are becoming useless.

From: Terry Morrell, Willerby.

RE your story ‘Books now a luxury for the poor’.

The first obvious statement is ‘It is disturbing to see children swiping a book like an iPad’. If these kids have access to an iPad with accompanying internet connection, how are they poor?

Did any of the teachers mention the local library to give their pupils access to everything and more than Google can provide?

Surprising indeed...

From: Dr Roger D Parkin, Kirkgate, Sherburn-in-Elmet.

ILLUSTRATING your article ‘My Yorkshire’, profiling Helen Pheby, I saw with surprise a picture of a rocky millstone grit tor captioned as ‘The Surprise View’ near the Yorkshire / Derbyshire border leading out of Sheffield on the A6187 towards Hathersage (The Yorkshire Post, March 31).

The true Surprise View is indeed a magnificent surprise to those who haven’t seen it, as the road turns a sharp right hand bend bringing the superb scenery of the Hope Valley into view. It is clearly one of the iconic views of the district, if not in England.

The photograph you printed is clearly not that of this view but of the adjacent rocky outcrop and appears to be looking south-east rather than west from the viewpoint over the Longshaw estate.

As a native of Sheffield, I am a lover of the scenic beauty of the area especially the adjacent Peak District.

In my childhood, if my parents wanted to impress visitors to the area with our numerous natural features, the Surprise was top of the list to have the ‘wow’ factor.

Gas blunder costs dearly

From: Bob Watson, Baildon.

CONTRACTORS working for Barratt housebuilders severed 
a gas pipe at a building site 
in Silsden (The Yorkshire Post, April 2) resulting in total chaos.

This caused thousands of people in the town to be without gas for several days. Will Barratt Homes be paying compensation to all those who lost supplies?

Net benefits for the ocean

From: John Redfearn, Whitby Road, Pickering.

DURING the Second World War, mines were removed by minesweepers. If similar boats were adapted with nets, the various pieces of plastic floating near the surface of the sea could be scooped up and removed.

Fish and mammals would not be harmed. The various pieces of plastic could be recycled.

Rough road for residents

From: M Eastman, Sheffield.

THE recent articles regards potholes and the quality of resurfacing to Sheffield’s roads only highlight Amey are 
not carrying out the work correctly.

Sheffield Council should be honest with everyone about the continual problems around this contractor and its quality of work.

Right man for both jobs

From: Nina Smith, Hebden Bridge.

IF Government ministers can manage their duties as MPs 
while running Departments of State, why did Labour initially oppose Dan Jarvis aspiring to be Mayor of South Yorkshire as well as a Barnsley MP? Was it because he opposes Jeremy Corbyn and his followers?

Remember the watershed

From: H Santiuste, Coningsburgh Road, Edenthorpe, Doncaster.

WHY do the major TV soaps feel it is compulsory to feature countless same-sex scenes and decadent behaviour from vicars, doctors, teachers and adolescents before the watershed?