Alun Morgan’s stroke caused him to speak Welsh

Alun Morgan from Bathwick came round from a stroke and started speaking Welsh | This is Bath.

An 81-year-old man from Bath baffled doctors when he came round after a stroke – and started speaking Welsh.

Alun Morgan, from Bathwick, was also amazed when he began speaking in a language which he had not heard since being evacuated to Wales as a child in the war.

Morgan suffered from aphasia that affected his ability to speak. Did the English part of his memory access shut down and all he could access was the parts that recalled Welsh? Amazing.

What do you know! I found a blog post on this.
Foreign Language Syndrome

Neuroscientists are still trying to make sense of all this. One proposal is that in polyglots, while speaking one language, the other language(s) have to be inhibited. If this ability to inhibit one language is impaired, then this will result in involuntary switching or mixing up the languages. It is further proposed that some patients with aphasia may have the inability to turn off the inhibition of one language – so the language may still be there, but permanently inhibited and unavailable. Such cases are rare but provide a window into the organization of multiple languages in the brain.

  2 comments for “Alun Morgan’s stroke caused him to speak Welsh

  1. garethl
    December 29, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    What some may not realise is just how Welsh the name Alun Morgan is. Morgan is a Welsh name as is Alun, it’s the Welsh spelling of Alan. It’s a bit like being surprised that someone called Klaus Eghert living in Alsace Lorraine suddenly started speaking German.

    This is a non story.

  2. Vin
    December 30, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    My father, while running around occupied Europe as a refugee child during WW2, managed to pick up nine languages….I’ll say that again….NINE…6 of which he could still speak fluently in his 60’s, more than half a century later….The Brain=endlessly amazing

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