Confusing English grammar
We need to re-evaluate and streamline our English grammar rules so anyone learning English can communicate effectively without being overly concerned with correct grammar. There are many grammar rules in the English language such as the “i before e” rule, the endless debate about the Oxford comma and the countless rules involving apostrophes. While it is undoubtedly good to have grammatical structure to ensure effective communication among speakers, there are notorious grammatical rules that have confounded English speakers for years. In some of my classes, for example, I have been writing and wondered how to say something in a grammatically correct way. After consulting peers and even faculty, I was no closer to knowing how to communicate that thought correctly.
The “i before e” rule that we all learned in elementary school has an incredible number of exceptions — so why do we learn it? Then there is the debate about the Oxford comma, one I fear will never be conclusively resolved since each side has its own strong opinions. Those who don’t grow up learning English as their first language have an incredibly hard time learning all the grammar rules we have imposed upon ourselves.
I implore that we reevaluate the grammar rules we have created and find a way to condense them or make them simpler. Then we can have a more effortless and effective way of communicating.
—Taylor Von Forell
Safe in the sun
May celebrates Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and Utah has the highest incidence rate of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. However, as the weather starts to heat up, it’s natural to spend more time outdoors. So have fun in the sun with these recommendations:
1. Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Look for a product that has SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or more, and re-apply every two hours, even when it’s overcast.
2. Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun can cause damage within 15 minutes.
3. Wear protective clothing. Wear sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats (3-inches or greater), long-sleeved shirts, and pants when possible.
4. Vitamin D is not the “sunshine vitamin.” Instead, get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet.
5. Check your birthday suit. Examine your skin monthly, and if you notice any spots changing shape, changing color or bleeding, see a dermatologist. Remember the “Ugly Duckling” rule of melanoma. Look out for a lesion that appears to be an outlier — or ugly duckling — in the presence of similar-appearing moles.
Everyone is at risk, no matter skin color or age. Have a great summer and be sun safe!
The power of music
Music has the power to change lives. The power of music on our memories, brain function and even physical health is absolutely astounding. Music is also a common element in spiritual gatherings for many (if not all) faiths. I recently heard the BYU Vocal Point arrangement of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” performed by an African boys choir, and their performance demonstrated both the power of music and the power of language in musical form. While the song is already beautiful and moving, this arrangement was adapted to include lyrics in Swahili “to bring the message closer home”. Having the music in their own language made the music even more meaningful to them because they understood the messages they were singing.
Especially here at Brigham Young University, there are many with both the ability to speak multiple languages and to create beautiful music as well! These talents could be combined to offer a similar gift to people throughout the world, spreading the same beautiful message that these boys did. I therefore prompt musicians with the ability to speak other languages to reach out by creating and arranging the music we hold dear so speakers of other languages can enjoy with us!