When asked what superpower they wish they had, flying, telepathy and invisibility are often the most common answers. People give these answers because the idea of having a superpower is so removed from reality that they give the craziest answers often depicted in movies. Many of us probably got a similar prompt in the fifth grade. This article is my grown-up version.
I would like to gain the ability of omnilingualism. Omnilingualism means having the ability to speak, understand and communicate in all languages fluently. I lived in Nigeria, which has about 250 ethnic groups with varying languages and cultures. In addition to being fluent in English, I can speak and understand my mother tongue, Igbo. It’s quite interesting to see how different sentences are structured in two languages or how emotions like love or respect are expressed. I crave the ability to know more languages because I want to be able to understand people from different walks of life.
I’m currently taking Spanish, and it’s one of my favorite classes. Being able to hold a conversation in Spanish and understanding some of the words in Spanish movies has been an amazing experience. But if I had this power, I wouldn’t need Spanish lessons. I would be able to travel to Colombia and hold conversations with the natives. Traveling to a foreign country would be much more exciting when I know the language. It’s well known that natives of any nation are more friendly towards those who speak their language. Being able to converse with them would allow me to be truly immersed in the country.
People often say, “knowledge is power,” which is very accurate. With this superpower, my choice of study-abroad programs would be limitless. I could go anywhere and finally achieve my goal of researching enduring issues that are partial to women such as gender inequality, female genital mutilation, abortion, etc. If I can speak to people in their language, they would probably be more forthcoming with their experiences regarding touchy subjects like these. This would be more intimate than a robot translator because I would understand the emotions as well.
This is all wishful thinking of course. To speak more languages, I have to put in lots of overtime. But hey! A girl can dream.
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