Prosper Oluwafunmibi Babalola is a 400-level pupil of Veterinary Medication on the College of Ibadan. She is a hyperpolyglot, tradition fanatic, author, and entrepreneur. She is popularly referred to as ‘Prosperlingua’ for her distinctive polyglottal ability.
In a chat with Tijani Abdulkabeer, Babalola spoke about her journey into multilingualism, the numerous doorways of alternatives it opened for her, and her plans for the long run.
Tijani Abdulkabeer (T.A.): How did you change into multilingual?
Oluwafunmibi Babalola (O.B.): I feel it’s simply curiosity that retains me going. There isn’t any rationalization for it. It’s my life. I like languages. I am fond of it. It simply occurs. I hear a language, and I decide it up.
(T.A.): How lengthy did it take you to be taught these languages? Point out the languages you converse fluently.
(O.B.): I’ve been studying languages since I used to be a child. I bear in mind I did French and a little bit of Latin in Major faculty, and I used to purchase language books. Since I’ve been sufficiently old to learn and write, I’ve been studying languages.
I converse German, Spanish, Hindi, Korean, Japanese, Twi, Zulu, Russian, Chinese language, Indonesian, Dutch, French, Latin, Hangul, Italian, English, Hausa, Yoruba, Egun, Egede, and Igbo, amongst others. 24 languages.
(T.A.): Inform us about your achievements as a result of many languages you converse.
(O.B.): I’ve achieved loads in languages. It has opened unimaginable doorways for me. , individuals’s expressions once they know you possibly can talk in several languages. And the latest achievement is my tweet which went viral. I solely made a careless tweet to promote myself, however earlier than I knew it, my telephone began making humorous sounds. Too many notifications from a number of individuals internationally; [People from different races] have been sending messages to supply me jobs. I’ve had so many interviews and stay movies. Celebrities I’ve all the time appeared as much as have been following me, sending DMs. Every little thing was simply loopy.
Prior to now, there have been occasions I used to go from church to church to current God’s identify in several languages. Hausa significantly has helped me get suya, free rides, and extra on a number of events.
I did many freelance jobs for primarily non-public people and organisations. One thing huge can also be within the pipe, however I can’t disclose it till the organisation unveils me. I’ll positively share it when the deal is official.
(T.A.): As a medical pupil, what are some challenges you confronted achieve mastery in these languages?
(O.B.): There are quite a lot of challenges. Veterinary faculty could be very loopy. We’ve courses from 8 am – 5 Pm every day. And it’s a must to resume early in order to not be locked out. However when it’s about studying languages, I’m irregular. I understand how to strike a steadiness. As an illustration, I’ve used Duolingo persistently for a few yr with out lacking out on a day. So, how is that this potential? It’s consistency. It’s identical to a enjoyable exercise to me. It’s like an escape from Vet faculty for me. I see it as enjoyable, not onerous work.
(T.A.): What motivates you?
(O.B.): Properly, I can’t bear in mind any day I needed to stop however there are days I felt drained to hold on. there’s a saying that goes thus – ‘I’ve come too far solely to stop.’ Like, it has been a part of me. It has been my life. So, why is it now that I’m going to stop? I can’t simply stop. The eagerness retains me going too. Anytime I’m drained, I bear in mind how a lot I like languages. How a lot I can’t do with out languages and so reminding myself that giving up is just not an choice.
(T.A.): How huge of a task do you assume languages can play in fostering unity in Nigeria?
(O.B.): Languages can play an enormous position as a result of one of many vital issues we’ve got as Nigerians is the truth that we’re divided when it comes to the tongue. Folks don’t perceive one another, and so they don’t get to. So, if we will discover widespread floor to embrace each other tradition or be taught one another’s lifestyle, we’re going to get that much-needed unity.
And in a state of affairs the place that’s not potential as a result of it’s a preferred perception that while you be taught different individuals’s language, you’re gaining a window into their life. You’re seeing the world from one other perspective. So, if there is usually a language change program, we’re gaining floor in individuals’s lives, after which we’re going to perceive, recognize and love them. And talking from expertise now, there is no such thing as a method you’ll be taught different individuals’s language and never love them. When there’s love, it is sort of a pointer to growth.
(T.A.): How do you assume expertise can assist make the method of studying languages straightforward?
(O.B.): Utilizing expertise will give us publicity to complete functions that may velocity up the method of studying languages. I can inform you that the most important drawback I’ve had, attempting to be taught some native languages, was as a result of they don’t exist on the Web. As an illustration, Egbiri, I googled and googled, but I couldn’t discover any sources on-line. Now, I’ve to fulfill individuals from that tribe for private teaching. And it was very onerous getting them to show me at my very own tempo. However when there’s an software, it accelerates the method.
(T.A.): Is being a hyperpolyglot a ability or a expertise?
(O.B.): Properly, I really feel prefer it’s largely an innate potential, however after all, it may be acquired. That’s, studying, however for those who have the expertise, they simply discover it straightforward.
Though I’ve a private perception which you can be taught something on this planet, after all, there could be a distinction between somebody that is aware of it naturally and one other that goes and learns it. However being a hyperpolyglot is extra of a expertise, however if you’re hardworking and constant, you possibly can purchase it as a ability.
(T.A.): What’s your dream profession?
(O.B.): My dream is to be a billionaire. [Laughs]. A billionaire in any profession path I finally select.
I’ve huge plans to implement my language expertise. I wish to join individuals to an countless world of prospects that studying languages can convey to them. I additionally intend to include these languages into filmmaking. Very quickly, I might go into making YouTube movies to tutor individuals in these languages. Then make cash and impression.
I’m already specializing in them, however the larger plans are nonetheless one thing I wish to maintain non-public for now.
This was first printed on Campus Reporter.
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