Alun Morgan, 81 years old, grew up speaking English but lived in Wales for a while during an evacuation in World War II. He was only in Wales a few months and admits that he “learned a bit of Welsh” while he was there but was not proficient with the language. He has not spoken the language in 70 years. The Englishman recently recovered from a stroke which has left doctors a bit puzzled. After his stroke, he spent three days in a coma. When he awoke, he spoke nothing but Welsh – and never realized he was not speaking in his native tongue. Doctors say that the strange language quirk continued for three more days when suddenly, he switched back to speaking English again. He has now almost completely forgotten the Welsh language.
Joe Korner of the Stroke Association explained:
“While some stroke survivors lose language skills or struggle to recall words, a small number may unlock language abilities they did not realize they had. We believe the damaged brain finds new pathways, which unlock memories or knowledge that is latent but not expressed.”