Readers’ Forum 4/24/18



Recycling and progress at BYU

Alfred Kelly’s 1912 graduation speech is legendary in BYU history — pivotal at a time when BYU found itself embroiled in financial crisis. Effectively saving the school, Kelly articulated a vision of a sprawling campus populated with thousands of students and dotted by “temples of learning.”

I remembered Kelly’s vision recently as I walked across campus with a plastic bottle. I wanted to recycle it, but I couldn’t find the appropriate bin. I threw the bottle away. That bothered me. It felt irresponsible. If I had been forced to throw away recyclables, surely others had too. How could this happen on a campus embodying Kelly’s description? Perhaps more change was in order.

The thought lingered with me, and I decided to see what recycling changes could be made. I enlisted the help of a friend, Will Stanger. The process led me and Will to various administrative offices to study human behavior and to experiment a new recycling system on a small scale.

Uniformly, we found sympathetic administrators willing but unsure how to help. Each warned us bureaucracy would slow progress. Even if our experiment brings overwhelming results, the road to better recycling promises to be a long one through byzantine tunnels of administration. This experience raises important questions, and Kelly’s vision burns in my heart as I wonder what can be done to loosen up the system and let his dream roll forth with greater velocity.

—Drew Capener

Haverhill, Massachusetts

It’s ‘like’ overused

There is word that’s like so powerful yet so meaningless that it like controls American English. It is like so subtle that it often goes unnoticed. It is interjected into like every sentence we speak, like sometimes even more than once. If you couldn’t tell already, the word is “like.”

Linguistically, there is a time and place for using the word “like,” but in today’s speech, it is being disturbingly overused. If you just take a minute to listen to a conversation between two people you will hear “like” throughout the entire conversation. While it is more typical among the rising generation, it has invaded all age groups. “Like” has become so intrusive that it is a distracting speech pattern. In the fast-paced world of today, we feel rushed to answer and don’t always know with what to answer. The way we use “like” makes our speech sound cluttered, makes us sound unsure and possibly makes us even sound uneducated.

I call upon all speakers of American English to think about what they are saying while they speak and to alter their language to eliminate the colloquial use of the word “like,” bringing back its true power as part of the English language. While this call for action is very unlikely to motivate people to completely eliminate the misuse of the word “like,” I hope at least it will move them to reduce it to a minimally intrusive level.

—Cade Rasmussen

Fruit Heights, Utah

Language is like DNA

Language is like human DNA. The human DNA is composed of many different chromosomes with different purposes. Missing DNA or extra DNA causes changes in a person. Everyone’s DNA is different just like the language DNA of every person is different. The DNA of language is made up of vocabulary, grammar, accents, pronunciation and how we communicate our language structure and culture. And it’s not just written and spoken language but body language and well. Where does this DNA come from or how is it made?

Like human DNA, we inherit language traits from our parents. Although we don’t sound exactly like our parents, we will find similarities. We learn body language and understand how to interact with others from our parents. But unlike human DNA, our language DNA can take on traits from our surroundings. Just like DNA, language is what gives us life. Our surroundings and schooling can influence our language capabilities. So, we should not judge others because their language DNA has a different makeup than ours. Would you judge someone based on their chemical DNA? I propose that we accept all kinds of languages and forms of communication.

—Mallori Dayes

Chandler, Arizona

Campus Pulse: Year in Review

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