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Meet man who memorises the dictionary

Shafiu said he started memorizing words from the dictionary into his head, when he began facing difficulties while reading text books and other reading materials.…

Shafiu said he started memorizing words from the dictionary into his head, when he began facing difficulties while reading text books and other reading materials. “The words sometimes become hard for me and I found it a challenge to actually cram the meanings of words,” he said.

He explained that his challenge was to recall an English word and its meaning without necessarily looking it up in the dictionary, but Shafiu confessed that it was indeed a difficult thing to do.

His words: “It is very difficult to commit all these to memory, it is more difficult than the law degree that I am reading. I learn the words and their meaning not with the intention to forget them but to retain them in my memory.”

A group of students gathered around the sport complex engaging Shafiu in a test session. They threw words at him like pebbles and he kept answering with the confidence of a person who believes in what he was doing and who really enjoyed it, to the admiration of many.

He said he believe every man has a target and no matter what others may think of such a target, it might be the ambition of the man. “Humans are made with targets. My target may sound funny but I am determined against all odds to achieve it. I want to enter the Guinness Book of World Records this year 2010. I am also aware that there is need for me to undergo some serious tests and verifications to be made before being considered forglobal feat.

What interests people watching him is the manner he recollects the supposedly crammed words while in some instances, he writes the words on a small sheet, maybe to make him remember them, or simply, to help him maintain the calm look as he brainstorms for the answers.

Shafiu said he intends to improve on his abilities by April this year and be prepared for the challenge. According to him, he intends to announce that the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary is in his head. Asked whether his native language might be a hindrance since he is not born an English man, Shafiu said he is not deterred   by that because he has the firm believe that everything is possible so long as there is determination.

“The fact that it is not my mother`s language will not stop me from acquiring it and having a mastery of its vocabulary,” he declared. He said that the sixth edition of the advanced learners which he is using is reliable. “The words, abbreviations and phrases are easy to assimilate,” he said.

 Shafiu explained that he chooses the night to read as he feels more comfortable and there are fewer distractions.

Shafiu`s family were, however, not keen on what he was doing as he confessed, “I thought that they don’t view the endeavour as something which could materialize.” They prefer to see him facing his studies seriously and ignoring such an enormous task which may not necessarily yield fruits.

And in the process, one may wonder if he is aware of the expectations of his family and perhaps, how does he feel this may affect his performance? Shafiu answered that with some humour arguing he schedules his time so that his other academic pursuits are not affected. He added that despite the extra efforts being put, he has no problem with his performance in school as he has an average CGPA (Cumulative Grade Average) of 3.0 which he believes can improve in the remaining two sessions he has in the university.

Shafiu has plans to also venture into the seventh edition and see the advancement made so as to keep abreast with new words and their meanings.

When complex words were thrown at him, he enjoyed answering them and even asked for more. This was the case at Media Trust regional office in Kano where he was engaged in a conversation with the staff and he gladly answered many questions.

An observer, Misbahu Madugu, said that in his own opinion, (Shafiu) has about 90% accuracy, saying that with the efforts put by the young man, there are good prospects in his way and only time would tell.

Many wonder if what Shafiu is doing can have some negative effects on his health. But he readily answered that he has consultations with medical professionals who told him that the human brain has the capacity to retain about ten times the dictionary and its content.

Pyramid Trust met with some of his friends who feel amazed, yet,  proud of being with him as this was a gift that he has got naturally—to be able to read and explain many words without referring to the written text.

To him, however, this is something that courage and determination has brought about and everyone can make an effort to achieve.  

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