A Beginning Yorùbá Textbook
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is an interactive, communicative, introductory, multi-media program intended to provide college/university students with basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of language learning in Yorùbá. It exposes the learner not only to Yorùbá language in meaningful situations but also to the culture of the Yorùbá-speaking people of South-western Nigeria. It contains effective techniques for teaching and learning Yorùbá including tones, and is userfriendly in its approach.

was initially sponsored by University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services. It is currently funded by the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, https://www.coerll.utexas.edu/ and the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. is an open access site that does not require fees or password.

The contents of this website were developed under grant #P229A100014 from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

INTRO & APPENDIX

Book Cover
Preface
Introduction





Appendix


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∗ Audio is currently only available on the website. QR codes are not yet included in textbook and Appendix PDF.

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Chapter 5
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Chapter 7
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Chapter 8
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Chapter 9
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Chapter 10
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Lesson 3:
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Chapter 11
Chapter 12
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YORÙBÁ YÉ MI (YYM) RESOURCES

To our Yorùbá Yé Mi Community, welcome!

Thank you for visiting our website. Yorùbá Yé Mi (YYM) is the result of many years of work by faculty, Fulbright Yoruba Teaching Assistants (FLTAs), students of Yoruba classes, graduate and undergraduate students/native speakers, family and friends all over the world, especially in Austin, Texas, and Nigeria.

Comments and questions can be sent to .
Please let us know how YYM benefits you and how we may be of help to you in learning/teaching Yoruba!

E kaabo o.

Learners, including heritage learners, believe that the biggest challenge to learning the Yoruba language is Yoruba tones. Not only did 1st year students at the University of Texas find the tongue twisters in YYM enjoyable in the Fall semester of 2011, they turned them into skits and shared them on YouTube:









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Alamoja Yoruba Online School

YORÙBÁ WRITING RULES

In this post, we will be sharing with you some of the rules that guides the writing of Yorùbá language. Over time, we discovered that people make a lot of mistakes when writing in this language. These rules will guide you to write Yorùbá the right way. Take a look at them….

No consonant clusters:

This writing rule says that there should be no consonant clusters in Yorùbá words. There are exceptions for cases where the nasal consonant ‘m/n’ stands as a syllable. For instance, in words like ‘nǹkan (something), Gbangba (in the open)’.

Consonants do not end words in Yorùbá Language:

Yorùbá language has 5 nasal vowels that are not usually visible in the Alphabets generally, They are “an, ẹn, in, ọn, un”. Any Yorùbá word that ends with a consonant, ends with any of these nasal vowels. Whenever words are borrowed into Yorùbá Language, they are usually coined so they can fit into this rule. Let’s look at these words: Facebook – Fesibúùkù Instagram – Íńsítágíráàmù Internet – Íńtánẹ́ẹ̀tì Samuel – Sámúẹ́lì

Tonal marks are necessary in Yorùbá Language because of heteronyms:

We also have heteronyms in Yorùbá Language, as a matter of fact we have so many of them. This is why it is necessary to learn the Yorùbá tonal marks and how to use them very well so we can avoid writing ‘ara (body)’ instead of ‘àrá (thunder)’, ‘ife (cup)’ instead of ‘ìfẹ́ (love). Let’s take a look at this: Ogun (War) Ògún (God of War) Ogún (Inheritance/Twenty) Ògùn (state) Oògùn (medicine, charm) Òógùn (sweat) Ó gùn (It is long) Ó gún (He pound…)

What about this… Agbọ́n (Hornet) Àgbọn (Coconut) Agbọ̀n (Basket) Àgbọ̀n (Jaw) A gbọ́n (We are wise) A gbọ̀n (We trembled)

Without tonal marks, it will be so difficult to discern what you mean when you write ‘ogun’, same goes for ‘agbon.

Writing out Yorùbá words fully:

This Yorùbá rule says it is important to write out the complete number of Vowels you hear in a word. Many people write out just one vowel in words where such vowel has duplicates. Let’s take a look at these examples: Aláàánú (the merciful) – many people write this as alanu Àlàáfíà (Peace) – mostly written as alafia Ẹ káàárọ̀ (Good morning) – mostly written as ẹ kaaro/karo Oríṣìíríṣi (various, different) – mostly written as orisirisi.

Writing of words as single words (Stop word clustering):

In this case, many people write two Yorùbá words together in a sentence. Just as it is not possible to write ‘amcoming’ in ‘I am coming’, Yorùbá words too should not be jam-packed. For instance, people write things like:

‘Mo nbo’ instead of ‘Mò ń bọ̀’ ‘Moti gbọ́’ instead of ‘mo ti gbọ́’ ‘Kini’ instead of ‘Kí ni’ ‘Bawoni’ instead of ‘Báwo ni’ (The syllabic ‘n’ stands alone in a sentence)

Have you learnt something? Let us hear from you in the comment section

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10 thoughts on “YORÙBÁ WRITING RULES”

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can i get this translated into yoruba? probably just the sub headings…please?

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Thank you so much

You are welcome! Kò tọ́pẹ́

Thank you! Kindly look forward to our soon to launch online bookstore, where you’ll find lots of relevant books.

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Thank you for your blog article. Thanks Again. Want more.

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This is so insightful and educative. Well done – ‘Ẹ ṣeun, mo dúpẹ́!’

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Heavy heart here. Gross damage has been done to the beauty of this our language. We need to advocate for experts(teachers) that can handle our kids from the elementary stage.

I look forward to learn more on the root of the language from you. A lot of exposure done by you.

Keep it up ma, nature will continue to sustain you.

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Yes, I have learned something and I am currently working on heteronyms.

I’m glad this was useful. Please be on the lookout for more relevant write-ups. Ire!

Avatar

Thank you sooo much

Comments are closed.

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Semantic Shifts in Yoruba Language: The Case of Gbéra | By Moyosore Orimoloye

by Submissions Editor

January 18, 2017

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A lot of semantic changes in the English language have now stayed long enough for the original meanings of the words to slowly fade.

Semantic changes or shifts—the evolution of the usage of words—are in a way necessary for the evolution of a language to adapt to the linguistic necessities of simultaneously evolving cultures.

I beamed when I observed, while sitting on top of a motorbike in Ibadan, a semantic shift in full bloom in the Yoruba language. The word gbéra translates directly to “lift body.”  The word’s original use is in situations such as leaving to go somewhere else or traveling. The old usage does not have the sense of urgency that new usage(s) of the word has.

Atop that motorbike, on the road linking Bódijà and Secretariat, I was running late for an appointment and, in a move that was almost immediately regrettable, I told the bike-man, “Gbéra.”

The word sent adrenaline coursing down the rider’s vein. He stepped on the pedal. To the bike-rider “gbéra” had become a challenge or an accusation that he was being too timid, and so amidst loosely held-up cars and a blinding sun, he became dare-devil, speeding into road bumps and potholes while swerving dangerously.

I promised myself never to tell a bike-man gbéra again.

Two years later, two weeks ago, I was running late again, and I spat out the magic word. This bike-man reacted to it on a deeper level and sped in the opposite direction of traffic on a federal highway. I have since resolved never to use the word in such circumstances again.

Another new use of the word is in gambling circles, especially in the virtual dog racing subset. Gamblers glue their eyes to the screen after selecting their dog(s) and scream, “Gbéra!” at the virtual beings.

A typical example of this scream is “Ajá four, gbéra!” meaning: Dog Number Four, do not only lift your body, lift it more intensely than other dogs . The use here is in a competitive sense, which the original usage lacks. In popular culture, these virtual dogs have become a metaphor for fortunes, and when Small Doctor in his single titled “Gbéra,” featuring Reminisce, proclaims, “Ajá mi ti gbéra,” it is a metaphor for sudden success or a breakout (known in generally as “blowing”).

In the routine business of daily life, the word has come to have meanings ranging from doing things with greater speed and enthusiasm to having surges of confidence. The latter meaning is exemplified in a mob  goading their friend to go after a dame or a student motivating a fearful classmate before a crucial examination.

The word has in essence evolved from “to lift one’s body” to “to lift one’s soul or spirit.”

**************

Post image by  Melvin “Buddy” Baker  via Flickr.

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  • Moyosore Orimoloye
  • sematic shifts
  • yoruba language

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COMMENTS ( 3 ) -

Adegboyega Shamsideen Thompson January 19, 2017 04:30

I have enjoyed your storyline on "'Gbéra'" in all its 'creative' system of writing. It also makes me wonder why in your effort to be 'creative' pointing to its "'sementics'" direction in the Yoruba language, you have minimized it to a couple of 'usages' by some Yoruba speakers. "'Gbéra'" fits your story and your 'story' fits it in the sense of a Yoruba with an English idea and mindset. Why? Can we communicate in English 'Yorubaically' (my coinage) no matter our level of the control of the English language in all our 'Igilarity'/'Englisharity' (my coinages, meaning "'Big/Bombastic use of words in the English language)? What is English to you--first, second, third, or what-have-you rank as a language? Why have you done such a 'disservice' to the use of "'Gbéra'" in the Yoruba language? You have limited its use to the arenas of motor parks and gambling cirlcles (dialogue with an "'Ọkādà'" motor cyclist and dog fight wagers). "Gbé'rā” (Gbé ārā) covers more grounds in the diction and parlance of Yoruba speakers. Its usage is, in most cases, effortlessly sacred and spiritual, in meaning and intention. It is a phrase that is used to reconcile us with our "ārā" (body) and "ẹmi" (breath/soul). I will give you some examples here, as follows: * Gbé'rā ("Lift your body;" not "'Lift body'" as you have indicated) * "Gbé'rā n'lẹ k'ō dìdē" is your well-wisher utterance, and/or a Bābāláwō's incantation to a sick person to rise up in good health from his/her sick "mat"... "Ēgbé," as in "'Ēgbé gbé mī dé'lé'" is a Yoruba spiritually loaded incantation, and therefore "magical" pronouncement for a "jenne" to aid oneself in disappearing to safety from a scene of accident/calamity. "Ārā kì nwúwó títí k'álárā má lè gbē" (One's big and heavy body density should not prevent oneself from carrying one's body to move around, and/or "dance")... If you have 'ordered' the respective "'Ọkādà'" motor-cylists to, in Yoruba, "'fò'" (fly) and/or "'Gbá'rā dì, tú'rāká, gbē n'lẹ,'" I can imagine them responding to your order to 'fly' away, with you on their motor-cycles like "'Dánfó'" transportation drivers. If they "'fly'" away, with or without your 'orders', like "'Dánfó'" drivers speed on our highways, would it make one wonder if they are 'crazy;' or not, as in another Yoruba saying, "'Ōnídánfó 'ò 'ṣíwèrè,' īgbó l'ó d'ōrí ẹ rú'" (A Dánfó driver is not 'crazy;' but Indian hemp ("'marijuana'") has roughened up/messed up his head)... You can see that all these phrases have one thing in common--very much akin to exchange of 'pleasantries',' and/or "'orders'"/"'commands'.'" Ó d'ìgbà kān ná ō.

Binogun Winifred January 18, 2017 08:59

Great read. Immediately I saw the title, a barage of Twitter memes came to mind.

EOD January 18, 2017 05:50

Really interesting read. Although I would call the fresh usages of the word instances of polysemous usage rather than semantic shift because, in each case, the root meaning remains, and unobscured.

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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Yoruba Language and Literature

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Yoruba Language and Literature by Karin Barber LAST REVIEWED: 29 September 2014 LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2014 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0156

Yoruba is a tonal language of the Niger-Congo family and is spoken by about thirty million people, predominantly in Western Nigeria but with numerous speakers also in the neighboring Republic of Benin and Togo. Yoruba cultural influences are strong in the Caribbean and Brazil, and poetic texts associated with the worship of the Yoruba deities survive and are being reinforced by international travel between West Africa and the New World. Yoruba oral literature is rich and varied. Written Yoruba was first produced in ajami (adapted Arabic script) but extensive written texts in Yoruba began to be produced after the advent of Christian missions in the mid-19th century and were written in the Roman alphabet. One of the long-standing debates was over the appropriate way to represent tones and open and closed vowels by adapting this alphabet. Print culture, introduced by the missions in the 1840s, was quickly espoused by educated urban elites and a flourishing written literature became established from the 1880s onward. English and Yoruba texts coexisted and interacted throughout the colonial period and up to the present day, and a number of leading writers functioned equally well in both. This article provides an overview of the history of literature in the Yoruba language. It looks at oral and written texts, at Yoruba literary criticism, and at Yoruba dictionaries, grammars, language histories and beginners’ language courses.

A number of historical overviews exist. Babalọla 1985 provides a concise but comprehensive overview of a range of oral and written genres, with biographical notes on a number of key writers. Barber 2004 similarly covers both oral and written genres and includes modern performance genres from the 19th century to the present. Ogunbiyi 1988 is a collection offering very succinct but informative historical overviews. Afọlayan 1982 and Falọla and Oyebade 2011 are collections of essays by various authors touching on different aspects of oral and written literary production. The edited work Abimbọla 1975 is a compendium of essays on oral (and some written) traditions. Iṣọla 1992 makes the case for Yoruba as a literary language close to the life-world of its speakers, while Adejunmọbi 2008 takes a long historical view of the vitality of Yoruba as a literary language, from the 19th century to the present day.

Abimbọla, ‘Wande, ed. Yoruba Oral Tradition: Poetry in Music, Dance and Drama . Ifẹ, Nigeria: Department of African Languages and Literatures, University of Ifẹ, 1975.

This volume of more than one thousand pages stemmed from a major conference at the University of Ifẹ (now Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University) and features work by almost the whole of the then-Yoruba literary establishment. Despite the title, it includes essays on oral prose, written poetry, and miscellaneous cultural topics.

Adejunmọbi, Moradewun. “Technorality, Literature and Vernacular Literacy in 21st Century Africa.” Comparative Literature 60.2 (2008): 164–185.

DOI: 10.1215/-60-2-164

This essay considers the possibility that Yoruba-language print culture, after a century of efflorescence, is on the decline because of the growth of the media and the intensification of globalization. It concludes that Yoruba-language creativity is not waning but may be shifting into new mediatized forms such as video drama.

Afọlayan, A., ed. Yoruba Language and Literature . Ibadan, Nigeria: University Press, 1982.

This volume of conference proceedings contains classic essays by luminaries of Yoruba Studies including Oyin Ogunba on festival songs, Ọ. Ọlatunji on the classification of oral poetic genres, Ayọ Bamgboṣe on lexical matching in Yoruba poetry, and essays on aspects of Yoruba grammar, dictionaries, lexical borrowing, dialect, and language in education.

Babalọla, Adeboye. “Yoruba Literature.” In Literatures in African Languages . Edited by B. W. Andrzejewski, S. Pilaszewicz, and W. Tyloch, 157–189. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Succinct and comprehensive historical overview covering both oral and written literatures and including biographical notes on twenty-four significant writers. Very informative.

Barber, Karin. “Literature in Yoruba: Poetry and Prose, Travelling Theatre and Modern Drama.” In The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature . Vol. 1. Edited by F. Abiọla Irele and Simon Gikandi, 357–378. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

This historical overview essay covers oral, written, media, and performance genres from the 19th century to the 21st century, contextualizes the development of new genres and traces the relations between oral, print, and mediatized forms. Attention is given to early print culture and to popular oral and media genres often overlooked in literary overviews.

Falọla, Toyin, and Adebayọ Oyebade, eds. Yoruba Fiction, Orature, and Culture: Oyekan Owomoyela and African Literature and the Yoruba Experience . Trenton, NJ: Africa World, 2011.

Festschrift for Owomoyela, comprising twenty-seven essays on aspects of oral literature and its interface with writing. Topics include praise poetry, proverbs, ancestral masquerade chants, oral genres in ritual, festivals, and as historical sources; intertextuality and translation; orature in media; and legal and scientific dimensions of orature.

Iṣọla, Akinwumi. “The African Writer’s Tongue.” Research in African Literatures 23.1 (1992): 17–26.

Eloquent argument in favor of writing in one’s mother tongue, by a leading Yoruba-language novelist, playwright, and poet who is also a master of English-language writing.

Ogunbiyi, Yẹmi, ed. Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to the Present . 2 vols. Lagos, Nigeria: Guardian, 1988.

This collection of short essays by a stellar cast of scholars focuses mainly on English-language literature, but it includes overviews of the history of Yoruba literature as a whole and individual pieces on the work of D. O. Fagunwa, Adebayọ Faleti, Ọladẹjọ Okediji, and Akinwumi Iṣọla.

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The Yoruba of Nigeria

Peoples of africa • new york • published in 1965 • pages: 549-582, by: lloyd, peter cutt ..

Abstract This summary article on the Yoruba was written by a British social anthropologist especially for this volume. The author's descriptions are authentic and reliable, deriving as they do from a decade of primary field research among the Yoruba. Due to its recency and comprehensiveness, this document should be read as a general introduction prior to consulting other specific material in the Yoruba file. While the author's framework is structural-functional, his analytical statements on the change and continuity in sociopolitical forms do not detract from the excellence of the ethnographic survey. Much of the recent economic dominance and political power of the Yoruba derive from maintaining patterns of wide market commerce. Historical evidence points to phases of empire formation and collapse, to the stage where Yoruba society now consists of a set of independent hereditary kingdoms--with considerable structural variability among them. But the administrative hierarchy of all is on some form of territorial-kinship basis, with the king and his council ultimately controlling the political and economic operations of lesser regional or district chiefs--common geneology or religion legitimating the state. Unifying the Yoruba now, in view of much rapid sociopolitical and economic change, is a sense of national Yoruba identity in language, culture, and myth. Some distinctive features of the society which the author stresses are: the extreme degree of traditional nonindustrial urbanization (possibly on a city-state pattern) and an urban settlement pattern combining both aristocratic noble elite and agrarian lower class peasantry; the anomalous economic and social status of women in their roles within the family and in the market; and the stabilizing of conflicts within the power structure, and principles of royal succession.

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Essay on Yoruba Culture

Students are often asked to write an essay on Yoruba Culture in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

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100 Words Essay on Yoruba Culture

Introduction.

The Yoruba people are an ethnic group from West Africa, mostly Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. They have a rich culture, steeped in history, art, religion, and social customs.

Yoruba religion is a major aspect of their culture. It’s based on the worship of a variety of gods, known as Orishas, each with unique attributes and responsibilities.

Yoruba art is renowned globally. It includes sculptures, masks, and beadwork, often used in religious ceremonies. Art is a way to honor the gods and ancestors.

Social Customs

Yoruba society values respect and good behavior. Elders are revered, and greetings are important social customs.

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250 Words Essay on Yoruba Culture

Introduction to yoruba culture.

The Yoruba people, predominantly found in Southwest Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, have a rich and vibrant culture that has significantly influenced art, religion, and societal norms in the African continent and beyond. Their culture is a complex blend of indigenous traditions and foreign influences.

Artistic Expressions

Yoruba art is renowned globally for its depth and diversity, with masks, sculptures, and textiles as key expressions. Often, these artistic creations serve more than aesthetic purposes; they also hold spiritual and symbolic significance. The Yoruba are also known for their intricate beadwork, used in clothing and royal regalia.

Religion and Spirituality

Yoruba spirituality, deeply woven into their daily lives, revolves around a pantheon of deities known as Orishas. Each Orisha represents a natural element or human endeavor. This traditional belief system has influenced many Afro-Caribbean religions like Santeria and Candomble.

Social Structure

The Yoruba social structure is hierarchical, with a clear distinction between elders and younger ones. Respect for elders is paramount. The society is also organized around large extended families known as ‘Ile’.

Language and Literature

In conclusion, Yoruba culture is a fascinating tapestry of art, religion, social norms, and language. Its global influence underscores its richness and resilience, and studying it provides invaluable insights into African cultural diversity.

500 Words Essay on Yoruba Culture

The Yoruba people, originating from Southwestern Nigeria and Benin, have a rich and vibrant culture that has significantly influenced the global community. With an estimated 44 million Yoruba people worldwide, their culture, which encompasses religion, art, music, language, and philosophy, has left an indelible mark on the world’s cultural landscape.

Religion and Philosophy

Yoruba philosophy, deeply intertwined with their religion, is centered around the concept of ‘Ase’, a life force that enables change. This philosophy influences their worldview, ethics, and social practices. It promotes a balance between the spiritual and physical worlds, emphasizing the importance of community and individual responsibility.

Art and Aesthetics

Yoruba art, renowned for its diversity and sophistication, primarily focuses on human figures and often serves religious purposes. Sculptures, masks, and textiles are used in rituals, ceremonies, and storytelling. The art is not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional, serving as a conduit for spiritual communication.

Music and Dance

The Yoruba language, a Niger-Congo language, is spoken by millions of people. It is tonal, with three basic tones that can change the meaning of words. The Yoruba have a rich oral literature tradition, including folktales, proverbs, and praise poetry, which are often used to teach moral lessons and preserve historical narratives.

The Yoruba culture, with its profound philosophy, intricate art, vibrant music, and rich language, offers a unique perspective on the human experience. Despite the pressures of modernization and globalization, the Yoruba people have managed to preserve their cultural heritage, ensuring that future generations can benefit from their wisdom and creativity. As the world becomes more interconnected, the influence of the Yoruba culture continues to grow, enriching the global cultural tapestry with its depth and diversity.

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write an essay in yoruba

The Yoruba Blog

Ẹ jẹ ki a gbé èdè àti àṣà yorùbá lárugẹ: keeping the yoruba language alive….

The Yoruba Blog

Iwé-àkọ-ránṣẹ́ ni èdè Yorùbá – Letter writing in Yoruba Language

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Ni àtijọ́, àwọn ọmọ ilé-iwé ló ńran àgbàlagbà ti kò lọ ilé-iwé lọ́wọ́ lati kọ iwé, pataki ni èdè abínibí.  Ẹ ṣe àyẹ̀wò àwọn iwé-àkọ-ránṣẹ́ wọnyi ni ojú iwé yi:

Ìwé ti Ìyá kọ sí ọmọ

Èsì iwé ti ọmọ kọ si iyá

Iwé ti ọkọ kọ si iyàwó

Èsi iwé ti aya kọ si ọkọ

write an essay in yoruba

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

In the olden days, school children often helped the elderly who were not literate to write letters particularly in the ethnic language.  See samples of letters written in Yoruba below:

Letter from mother to child

20 Afunbiowo  Street                                                                                 Akure

20 February, 1969

My dearest child,

Hope you are well as I am here?  Your Father and your younger ones are fine.  Hope your studies are going on fine?

My child “Akanki” do not forget your home.  You will not disappear in your land of sojourn (Amen).  Face your studies.  You will bring in your harvest home.

Extend greetings to your friends.  We shall be expecting your response.

May our meeting be as sweet as honey.

Yours truly,                                                                                                                                         Your mother – Wale’s mother.

Child’s response to mother

Room 24                                                                                                        Fagunwa Hall                                                                                               University of Lagos                                                                                    Akoka, Lagos

March 13, 1969

My Dearest Mother ,

How are you and my father?  How is everyone at home?

I am very glad to inform you that I got to my School safely, my studies are going on fine.  School is good, we are fed thrice daily, a big ocean is near our School.  I met one our town’s man whose name is Kayode – from Aro’s family compound.  He has helped me a lot to settle down in School.

I promise you and my father that I will not forget home.

Extend my special greetings to my younger ones ant to my brother Wale too.  Also extend my greetings to my father and everyone at home.

We shall meet joyfully.

Yours truly,                                                                                            Your Son Ibukunolu

Husband’s letter to wife

12 Onabola Street                                                                                       Somolu, Lagos

12 October, 1978

My Dearest wife,

Hope you are well as I am here?  How are my children?  Hope their school is going on well?

I am glad to write you this letter, because I have been allocated an official car and I have secured an accommodation too.  As a result, I will be sending for you all soon.

My love, hope the children are not stressing you?  Tell Aduke that I love her dearly, if I see anyone coming home, I will send her toys.

Take care of the children very well.  Extend my greetings to your mother and my father too.  Greetings to everyone at home.

We shall meet joyfully very soon because I am eager to see my special wife and the children

Goodbye, we meet with happiness.

Your husband truly,                                                                                   Segun’s father

Wife’s response letter to husband in Yoruba

Ajamajebi’s ompound,                                                                              Ilorin

My true husband,

I am glad to receive your letter.  We are all fine.  The children are doing well at School.

I am also glad to hear the joyful news that you have been allocated a car in your office and also that you have found an accommodation.  By God’s grace, you will not record an accident with the vehicle.

The children are not giving me too much trouble but Aduke has been asking of her father always.

People at home are all fine.

We shall be getting ready because once the children begins their holiday we would love to join you in Lagos.

My mother sent her greetings.  Father is a bit ill but he getting better little by little.  Greetings from everyone at home.

I am eagerly looking forward to see my husband.

Do take care at work.  We shall with joyfully.

Yours truly,                                                                                                                                         Your wife Ibadi-ileke

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Originally posted 2014-03-11 01:14:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

15 thoughts on “ Iwé-àkọ-ránṣẹ́ ni èdè Yorùbá – Letter writing in Yoruba Language ”

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I am an African Brazilian descendent of Yoruba-Fon people. I have been studying Yourba language for quite a time of my life. I take the opportunity to congrtulate youo in your efforts to keep Youruba language and culture alive.

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Hello there! I am a student of the language (well I’m trying) and i was wondering if there are any resources to help translate a Yoruba word to Yoruba complete with accents a diacritics ? Like if I want to know how to properly write ibo lo wa?

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Hi, As at now there are no direct way of typing Yoruba word with accents a diacritics because there are no Yoruba keyboards in the market. However you can continue to check out the Yoruba Alphabets and other learning materials under the Learning subject on the Yoruba Blog. You can also download Latin Symbols to apply accents on Yoruba words. I do hope this will be helpful in answer to your question.

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Thank you sir

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Ki lo bere? You can ask your question or comment in English for clarity. Thanks.

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As of 2019, there is a Yorùbá keyboard by Yorubaname.com (Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún). You can download it by google-ing Yorùbá keyboard by yorubaname.com or Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún. On phone, I use the SwiftKey app then add the Yorùbá language.

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Alternatively you could copy and paste all the accented letters from this website.

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Ẹ kú ìgbìnyànjú. Inú mi dùn láti sọ fún yín wípé ànfààní láti kọ èdè yorùbá nírọ̀rùn ti jáde. Mo ri wípé ó nira fún ọ̀pọ̀lọpọ̀ láti kọ èdè yorùbá pẹ̀lú ẹ̀rọ ayára bí àṣá. Ìdí ni yi tí mo fi ṣe ohun tí a le fi máa kọ èdè wa (Yorùbá) ati Igbo ati Hausa. Ẹ lọ sí àdírèsì yii gazaliwakil.com.ng

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i like it but if u want me to cotinue in this site i need is a letter writing in yoruba telling your friend how u spent ur last easter holiday

Hello, why did you put a nasty comment in your earlier comment saying “you hate you people”.

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Differences between informal and formal letter written in Yoruba. Can anyone help me with that and pls let it be written in a tabular form

The letters published ont this blog were “Informal”. What type of formal letter are you interested in? You can send an example of your type of formal letter so it can be translated into Yoruba.

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Hi my name is Tina aka Arike that is the name my friend gave me. I will be moving to Nigeria soon but I want to write my friend a love letter in his language. I have been reading books on the language going on Youtube and even using Google translate in its awful. Google’s translation is saying something different from what I am writing. Can you do something on writing love letters? Translating from English to Yoruba

Hi Tina, please send a copy of the content of the kind of love letter you wish to write to enable The Yoruba Blog Editor to translate for you. Send such mail to: [email protected]

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Yoruba Weddings: An analysis of Traditional Marriage Rites of the Ogbomosho people

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The increasing consequences of the introduction of Christianity, its values and practices in Africa are manifold. Resulting to, clash with pre-existing traditional beliefs and practices. This has necessitated the need to ask; at what point can a young man and a woman who has agreed to marry, be socially described as a married couple? In Nigeria, some Pentecostal Christian churches do not allow the bride to immediately go home with the groom and his people after traditional marriage rite has been performed. Some Nigerian Pentecostals argue they are not husband and wife until white wedding has been performed. Hence, there is need to probe why? This is a qualitative study that employed key informant, in-depth interviews and participant observation to elicit data from respondents. Findings reveal this clash as recent and unnecessary, individual choice should prevail and not church tenets. Sexual consummation should begin immediately after traditional marriage rites but this is unacceptable to some Pentecostal Christian churches. People agreed that traditional marriage rites should be compulsory but performance of white wedding should not be made compulsory by Pentecostal churches. This did not go down well with key informants of both sides of the argument. Study recommends a reassessment of the essence of both ceremonies and compromise to ensure hitch-free marriage negotiations in contemporary Nigerian societies.

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Marriages in Nigeria largely take three forms, customary marriage; Islamic marriage, both of which subsisted among the indigenous tribes before the advent of colonial rule, and statutory marriage, which came in as a result of the contact with the white people during colonisation. The three forms of marriage still subsist and extant in our legal system in separate legal regimes of English Law, Customary Law, and Islamic Law. Modern marriages in Nigeria, combine either customary marriage or Islamic marriage with statutory marriage or what is termed ‗registered marriage' by performing the traditional marriage or Islamic marriage under customary or Islamic tenets, a day before the actual wedding or at most, in the morning of the wedding. This to our mind might be a result of confusion as to whether either of the first two marriages is complete or adequate on their own to confer the status of marriage with its attendant benefits and consequences. This paper intends to juxtapose the three forms of marriage bringing to the fore, their special characteristics and espousing their

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Wole Soyinka’s life of writing holds Nigeria up for scrutiny

write an essay in yoruba

Lecturer in African and African Diasporan Literature, University of Lagos

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Abayomi Awelewa received funding from the American Council of Learned Society (ACLS) for his Africa Humanities Program (AHP) Fellowship.

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Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka poses.

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known simply as Wole Soyinka, can’t be easily described. He is a teacher, an ideologue, a scholar and an iconoclast, an elder statesman, a patriot and a culturalist.

The Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet and essayist is a giant among his contemporaries. In 1986, he became the first sub-Saharan African, and is one of only five Africans, to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. This was in recognition of the way he “fashions the drama of existence” .

His works reveal him as a humanist, a courageous man and a lover of justice. His symbolism, flashbacks and ingenious plotting contribute to a rich dramatic structure. His best works exhibit humour and fine poetic style as well as a gift for irony and satire. These accurately match the language of his complex characters to their social position and moral qualities.

His works have such impact that some of them are used in schools in Nigeria and some other anglophone countries in West Africa. Some have also been translated into French .

Life and activism

Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria, on 13 July 1934. His parents were Samuel Ayodele Soyinka and Grace Eniola Soyinka. He had his primary education at St Peter’s Primary School in Abeokuta. In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan) and the University of Leeds in England.

He was jailed in 1967 for speaking out against Nigeria’s civil war over the attempted secession of Biafra from Nigeria. Soyinka was also incarcerated for taking over the radio station of the disbanded Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Ibadan to announce his rejection of the 1965 Western Nigerian election results.

He joined other activists and democrats to form the National Democratic Coalition to fight for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.

He now lives in Abeokuta .

Themes and style

My first contact with Soyinka was in secondary school when we were made to read his play Lion and the Jewel. Some of my classmates then felt he was difficult to read and assimilate. I later found out Lion and the Jewel was actually one of the simplest titles.

Soyinka’s works often address the clash of cultures, the interface between primitiveness and modernity, colonial interventions, religious bigotry, corruption, abuse of power, poor governance, poverty and the future of independent African nations. His themes have remained constant over time and many African states are still grappling with issues he has raised since the 1950s.

Through his works, I discovered that he has deep knowledge and understanding of his mother tongue, Yoruba. For instance, in Death and the King’s Horseman and other plays, we see Yoruba wisecracks, philosophy and proverbs translated into his language of communication, English. These enrich his writings.

I find the changing forms of his creative works interesting in spite of the unchanging content of the narratives or drama. Read King Baabu or The Beatification of the Area Boy and Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth to observe the change in Soyinka’s style.

Forms of writing

Soyinka’s plays cut across diverse socio-economic, political, cultural and religious preoccupations. A Dance of the Forests, one of the most recognised plays, was written and presented in 1960 to celebrate Nigeria’s independence. It reflects on the ugly past and projects into a blossoming future.

His 1965 play Kongi’s Harvest premiered in Dakar, Senegal in 1966 at the first Negro Arts Festival. The lead character, Kongi, was played by Soyinka himself. It deals with themes of corruption, ego and paranoia. The lead character, Kongi, is the archetype of dictatorship globally. He suppresses all voices of reason, revelling in his illusion of power and thinking no one can stop him – until he meets a tragic end.

Other plays depict clashes of culture between white influence, colonial values and black African orientations. Soyinka never blames but dramatises the evil people do through characters with impact, strong plots, accurate settings and language.

Soyinka has written only three novels: The Interpreters (1965), Season of Anomy (1973) and Chronicles from the Land of Happiest People on Earth (2021), which came almost 50 years after his last. The novels focus mainly on Nigeria and its many ills, including corruption, religious bigotry and inept governance.

The characters in the first two novels have dreams which are sometimes dashed through a tragic truncation of their lives. The latest captures contemporary Nigeria, the Nigerian diaspora and the myths of an ever-crawling giant. It paints a picture of things going wrong for the country.

Certain poems stand out among Soyinka’s collection . These are Telephone Conversation and Abiku. The former uses humour to talk about the serious issue of an African experiencing racism as a new student in a British university. The latter comments on Nigeria’s inability to develop; the poet explores the futility of life.

Soyinka’s non-fiction includes The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972), his autobiography, Ake: The Years of Childhood (1981), Isara: A Voyage Around Essay (1990), Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (1989) and You Must Set Forth at Dawn (2006). In these works he has narrated how the story of his life and his family intertwines with the fate of Nigeria.

As an essayist and intellectual, he has highlighted the specific failings of individuals in the Nigerian polity. Soyinka is not afraid of mentioning names of people he writes about, nor the wrongdoings he is accusing them of.

These works include Myth, Literature and the African World (1976), Art, Dialogue, and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture (1988), The Black Man and the Veil: Beyond the Berlin Wall (1990) and The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis (1996).

They are essays that have contributed to Soyinka’s status as a global intellectual.

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How to Write a Business Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide

We live in a highly competitive and dynamic world in an era where any skill if effectively used, can set you apart from the rest. In the modern business world, the ability to craft stellar essays can give you a competitive edge over your opponents.

From professionals running enterprises to entrepreneurs and students learning the trade, the ability to convey ideas effectively through writing can make a significant impact on career growth and development. It can also win you deals. In this short article, we’ll explore a few tips for crafting winning business essays. Read on to understand why small details matter when planning to make an impact.

The ultimate guide to crafting an A+ business essay: 8 expert tips and strategies

Choose a compelling topic

This is the most important part of your business essay. As such, you should dedicate adequate time to it. A wrong topic is often a complete turnoff. It makes potential readers ignore your work, even if they would have benefitted from it. To choose a compelling and enjoyable topic, focus on current industry issues or trends that interest you. Ensure that you frame the issue from a popular or controversial viewpoint to grab attention. However, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Choose a topic that allows you to demonstrate your business expertise.

However, if you’re stuck and unable to conjure an interesting topic for your essay, try online resources such as FastEssay, a fast essay writing service for students. The company can help you create a topic, generate a solid thesis statement, structure your paper, and edit your draft in minutes. Their experts provide reliable academic and business assistance fast!

Conduct thorough research

A business essay must be well-crafted and loaded with facts. You must convince your audience that you’ve read widely on the subject and have earned the right to write about it. With the advent of AI, the volume of texts on the internet has increased tenfold. Your audience is being bombarded with millions of articles on various topics. As such, they’ll look for any excuse to skip an article. Therefore, if you want to grab their attention and stand out, you must conduct thorough research and back up every claim you make.

Organizing your ideas

The organization is key in business writing. Your work must show evidence of a well-thought-out argument from start to finish. Therefore, dedicate some time to creating an outline that will guide your work. A solid outline is like a skeleton upon which an entire body is built. So, if it’s wrong or not well-thought-out, the entire essay will be a mess. A good essay outline helps you stay focused, develop your ideas logically, and ensure a coherent flow throughout your paper. From experience, a well-crafted outline can significantly lower your writing time, make the task more enjoyable, and improve the quality and clarity of your final written piece.

Provide supporting evidence

There’s a big difference between a valid claim and a heresy or rumor. The importance of making valid and verifiable claims in your business essay can’t be overemphasized. Don’t give in to the temptation of including interesting claims in your paper to spice it up. Be professional and stick to facts only. Moreover, be aware that some of your readers may be incapable of differentiating facts from fiction. It’s your job to support your claims with credible sources such as peer-reviewed journals, books, government data, and information from authoritative institutions such as NASA, NAT GEO, etc. Most importantly, your document must show that you’ve explored all sides of the debate, even the one you disagree with. Establishing a balanced view of a subject is critical in business writing.

Use the right structuring

The simplest things are often the most important ones. Whenever we talk about essays, the first thing most people think of is their basic structure – introduction, body, and conclusion. Interestingly, a considerable number of people fail to conform to this basic standard. Don’t be like them. Create a captivating introduction where you explain what your essay is about. Ensure that you include a solid thesis statement. Use the body paragraphs to explain each of your points. Having each argument in its paragraph is highly recommended. Finally, end the essay with a powerful conclusion that recaps its main arguments and position.

Polishing your essay

Writing a business essay can be tasking. In most cases, you must develop several drafts before arriving at the final document. While people use different writing techniques and steps, none is flawless. You must contend with mistakes, be they grammatical, stylistic, or typos. Even the best writers of all time struggle with such mistakes. Therefore, you must dedicate time to editing and proofreading your essay. This can be done in one go or carried out over several steps. No matter your approach, always leave your document to settle before revising it. It gives you a better chance of spotting mistakes in your work.  

Use appropriate business terminology and concepts

Every subject has its terminology and concepts. Therefore, if you want to sound relevant and informed, you must refine your business essay to sound “businesslike.” This will not only earn you respect but also improve your credibility. Moreover, it allows for clear and concise communication of ideas and ensures the essay aligns with academic and professional standards within the field of business. However, be careful not to overdo it. Writing an essay is an opportunity to express yourself, not show off your jargon.

Be punctual

We understand that some students are procrastinators. They’ll wait until the last minute to write their essays. While it might work that way, the chance of things going wrong increases as the deadline draws closer. You might be taken ill, involved in an emergency, forget the work, or suffer a power outage with online minutes to go. Don’t take the risk. Start writing your essay early to give you enough time for editing and proofreading. Most importantly, submit the work on time instead of waiting until the last minute. You might be a victim of system overload or crash.

Write with confidence, and revise with distrust!

As we’ve shown above, writing a winning business essay is a complex process. It demands a lot of your time and may force you to explore several sources. Therefore, you must focus on facts, credibility, the right structure, organization, and punctuality. However, of the greatest importance is editing and proofreading your work. You must dedicate sufficient time to this exercise to make your document flawless. Some of the best-published books, essays, and research papers you have seen around are products of several rounds of revision.

More From Forbes

How not to write your college essay.

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If you are looking for the “secret formula” for writing a “winning” college essay, you have come to the wrong place. The reality is there is no silver bullet or strategy to write your way to an acceptance. There is not one topic or approach that will guarantee a favorable outcome.

At the end of the day, every admission office just wants to know more about you, what you value, and what excites you. They want to hear about your experiences through your own words and in your own voice. As you set out to write your essay, you will no doubt get input (both sought-after and unsolicited) on what to write. But how about what NOT Notcoin to write? There are avoidable blunders that applicants frequently make in drafting their essays. I asked college admission leaders, who have read thousands of submissions, to share their thoughts.

Don’t Go In There

There is wide consensus on this first one, so before you call on your Jedi mind tricks or predictive analytics, listen to the voices of a diverse range of admission deans. Peter Hagan, executive director of admissions at Syracuse University, sums it up best, saying, “I would recommend that students try not to get inside of our heads. He adds, “Too often the focus is on what they think we want.”

Andy Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College agrees, warning, “Do NOT get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what is going to impress the admission committee. You have NO idea who is going to read your essay and what is going to connect with them. So, don't try to guess that.” Victoria Romero, vice president for enrollment, at Scripps College adds, “Do not write about something you don’t care about.” She says, “I think students try to figure out what an admission officer wants to read, and the reality is the reader begins every next essay with no expectations about the content THEY want to read.” Chrystal Russell, dean of admission at Hampden-Sydney College, agrees, saying, “If you're not interested in writing it, we will not be interested when reading it.” Jay Jacobs, vice provost for enrollment management at the University of Vermont elaborates, advising. “Don’t try to make yourself sound any different than you are.” He says, “The number one goal for admission officers is to better understand the applicant, what they like to do, what they want to do, where they spend the majority of their time, and what makes them tick. If a student stays genuine to that, it will shine through and make an engaging and successful essay.”

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Don’t Be Artificial

The headlines about college admission are dominated by stories about artificial intelligence and the college essay. Let’s set some ground rules–to allow ChatGPT or some other tool to do your work is not only unethical, it is also unintelligent. The only worse mistake you could make is to let another human write your essay for you. Instead of preoccupying yourself with whether or not colleges are using AI detection software (most are not), spend your time focused on how best to express yourself authentically. Rick Clark is the executive director of strategic student success at Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the first institutions to clearly outline their AI policy for applicants. He says, “Much of a college application is devoted to lines, boxes, and numbers. Essays and supplements are the one place to establish connection, personality, and distinction. AI, in its current state, is terrible at all three.” He adds, “My hope is that students will use ChatGPT or other tools for brainstorming and to get started, but then move quickly into crafting an essay that will provide insight and value.”

Don’t Overdo It

Michael Stefanowicz, vice president for enrollment management at Landmark College says, “You can only cover so much detail about yourself in an admission essay, and a lot of students feel pressure to tell their life story or choose their most defining experience to date as an essay topic. Admission professionals know that you’re sharing just one part of your lived experience in the essay.” He adds, “Some of the favorite essays I’ve read have been episodic, reflecting on the way you’ve found meaning in a seemingly ordinary experience, advice you’ve lived out, a mistake you’ve learned from, or a special tradition in your life.” Gary Ross, vice president for admission and financial aid at Colgate University adds, “More than a few applicants each year craft essays that talk about the frustration and struggles they have experienced in identifying a topic for their college application essay. Presenting your college application essay as a smorgasbord of topics that ultimately landed on the cutting room floor does not give us much insight into an applicant.”

Don’t Believe In Magic

Jason Nevinger, senior director of admission at the University of Rochester warns, “Be skeptical of anyone or any company telling you, ‘This is the essay that got me into _____.’ There is no magic topic, approach, sentence structure, or prose that got any student into any institution ever.” Social media is littered with advertisements promising strategic essay help. Don’t waste your time, energy, or money trying to emulate a certain style, topic, or tone. Liz Cheron is chief executive officer for the Coalition for College and former assistant vice president of enrollment & dean of admissions at Northeastern University. She agrees with Nevinger, saying “Don't put pressure on yourself to find the perfect, slam dunk topic. The vast majority of college essays do exactly what they're supposed to do–they are well-written and tell the admission officer more about the student in that student's voice–and that can take many different forms.”

Don’t Over Recycle

Beatrice Atkinson-Myers, associate director of global recruitment at the University of California at Santa Cruz tells students, “Do not use the same response for each university; research and craft your essay to match the program at the university you are interested in studying. Don't waste time telling me things I can read elsewhere in your application. Use your essay to give the admissions officer insights into your motivations, interests, and thinking. Don't make your essay the kitchen sink, focus on one or two examples which demonstrate your depth and creativity.” Her UC colleague, Jim Rawlins, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management at the University of California at San Diego agrees, saying “Answer the question. Not doing so is the surest way we can tell you are simply giving us a snippet of something you actually wrote for a different purpose.”

Don’t Overedit

Emily Roper-Doten, vice president for undergraduate admissions and financial assistance at Clark University warns against “Too many editors!” She says, “Pick a couple of trusted folks to be your sounding board when considering topics and as readers once you have drafts. You don’t want too many voices in your essay to drown you out!” Scripps’ Romero agrees, suggesting, “Ask a good friend, someone you trust and knows you well, to read your essays.” She adds, “The goal is for the admission committee to get to know a little about you and who better to help you create that framework, than a good friend. This may not work for all students because of content but helps them understand it’s important to be themselves.” Whitney Soule, vice provost and dean of admissions at The University of Pennsylvania adds, “Avoid well-meaning editorial interference that might seem to polish your writing but actually takes your own personal ‘shine’ right out of the message.” She says, “As readers, we connect to applicants through their genuine tone and style. Considering editorial advice for flow and message is OK but hold on to the 'you' for what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Don’t Get Showy

Palmer Muntz, senior regional admissions counselor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks cautions applicants, “Don’t be fancier than you are. You don’t need to put on airs.” He adds, “Yes, proofread your work for grammar and spelling, but be natural. Craft something you’d want to read yourself, which probably means keeping your paragraphs short, using familiar words, and writing in an active voice.” Connecticut College’s Strickler agrees, warning, “Don't try to be someone you are not. If you are not funny, don't try to write a funny essay. If you are not an intellectual, trying to write an intellectual essay is a bad idea.”

Anthony Jones, the vice president of enrollment management at Loyola University New Orleans offers a unique metaphor for thinking about the essay. He says, “In the new world of the hyper-fast college admission process, it's become easy to overlook the essential meaning of the college application. It's meant to reveal Y...O...U, the real you, not some phony digital avatar. Think of the essay as the essence of that voice but in analog. Like the completeness and authenticity captured in a vinyl record, the few lines you're given to explain your view should be a slow walk through unrestrained expression chock full of unapologetic nuances, crevices of emotion, and exactness about how you feel in the moment. Then, and only then, can you give the admissions officer an experience that makes them want to tune in and listen for more.”

Don’t Be A Downer

James Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at The University of Chicago says, “Don’t be negative about other people, be appreciative of those who have supported you, and be excited about who you are and what you will bring to our campus!” He adds, “While admissions offices want smart students for our classrooms, we also want kind-hearted, caring, and joyous students who will add to our campus communities too.”

Don’t Pattern Match

Alan Ramirez is the dean of admission and financial aid at Sewanee, The University of the South. He explains, “A big concern I have is when students find themselves comparing their writing to other students or past applicants and transform their writing to be more like those individuals as a way to better their chances of offering a more-compelling essay.” He emphasizes that the result is that the “essay is no longer authentic nor the best representation of themselves and the whole point of the essay is lost. Their distinctive voice and viewpoint contribute to the range of voices in the incoming class, enhancing the diversity of perspectives we aim to achieve.” Ramirez simple tells students, “Be yourself, that’s what we want to see, plus there's no one else who can do it better than you!”

Don’t Feel Tied To A Topic

Jessica Ricker is the vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid at Skidmore College. She says, “Sometimes students feel they must tell a story of grief or hardship, and then end up reliving that during the essay-writing process in ways that are emotionally detrimental. I encourage students to choose a topic they can reflect upon positively but recommend that if they choose a more challenging experience to write about, they avoid belaboring the details and instead focus on the outcome of that journey.” She adds, "They simply need to name it, frame its impact, and then help us as the reader understand how it has shaped their lens on life and their approach moving forward.”

Landmark College’s Stefanowicz adds, “A lot of students worry about how personal to get in sharing a part of their identity like your race or heritage (recalling last year’s Supreme Court case about race-conscious admissions), a learning difference or other disability, your religious values, LGBTQ identity…the list goes on.” He emphasizes, “This is always your choice, and your essay doesn’t have to be about a defining identity. But I encourage you to be fully yourself as you present yourself to colleges—because the college admission process is about finding a school where your whole self is welcome and you find a setting to flourish!”

Don’t Be Redundant

Hillen Grason Jr., dean of admission at Franklin & Marshall College, advises, “Don't repeat academic or co-curricular information that is easily identifiable within other parts of your application unless the topic is a core tenant of you as an individual.” He adds, “Use your essay, and other parts of your application, wisely. Your essay is the best way to convey who your authentic self is to the schools you apply. If you navigated a situation that led to a dip in your grades or co-curricular involvement, leverage the ‘additional information’ section of the application.

Thomas Marr is a regional manager of admissions for the Americas at The University of St Andrews in Scotland and points out that “Not all international schools use the main college essay as part of their assessment when reviewing student applications.” He says, “At the University of St Andrews, we focus on the supplemental essay and students should avoid the mistake of making the supplemental a repeat of their other essay. The supplemental (called the Personal Statement if using the UCAS application process) is to show the extent of their passion and enthusiasm for the subject/s to which they are applying and we expect about 75% of the content to cover this. They can use the remaining space to mention their interests outside of the classroom. Some students confuse passion for the school with passion for their subject; do not fall into that trap.”

A Few Final Don’ts

Don’t delay. Every college applicant I have ever worked with has wished they had started earlier. You can best avoid the pitfalls above if you give yourself the time and space to write a thoughtful essay and welcome feedback openly but cautiously. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect . Do your best, share your voice, and stay true to who you are.

Brennan Barnard

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Surgeon General: Why I’m Calling for a Warning Label on Social Media Platforms

An illustration of a girl lying in bed in a darkened room. The glow from her phone illuminates her pillow with a warning sign, a triangle with an exclamation point inside it.

By Vivek H. Murthy

Dr. Murthy is the surgeon general.

One of the most important lessons I learned in medical school was that in an emergency, you don’t have the luxury to wait for perfect information. You assess the available facts, you use your best judgment, and you act quickly.

The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, and the average daily use in this age group, as of the summer of 2023, was 4.8 hours . Additionally, nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies.

It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe. Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior. When asked if a warning from the surgeon general would prompt them to limit or monitor their children’s social media use, 76 percent of people in one recent survey of Latino parents said yes.

To be clear, a warning label would not, on its own, make social media safe for young people. The advisory I issued a year ago about social media and young people’s mental health included specific recommendations for policymakers, platforms and the public to make social media safer for kids. Such measures, which already have strong bipartisan support, remain the priority.

Legislation from Congress should shield young people from online harassment, abuse and exploitation and from exposure to extreme violence and sexual content that too often appears in algorithm-driven feeds. The measures should prevent platforms from collecting sensitive data from children and should restrict the use of features like push notifications, autoplay and infinite scroll, which prey on developing brains and contribute to excessive use.

Additionally, companies must be required to share all of their data on health effects with independent scientists and the public — currently they do not — and allow independent safety audits. While the platforms claim they are making their products safer, Americans need more than words. We need proof.

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