Go into a Coma, Speak Fluent German?
In a previous post about language disorders, I mentioned Foreign Accent Syndrome. That’s where a person who’s suffered a brain injury suddenly sounds as if they have a foreign accent, usually due to a specific speech impediment.
Something seemingly similar, but actually quite different, happened recently in Croatia. This article talks about a recent instance when a girl awoke from a coma unable to speak her native Croatian. Instead, she was fluent in German.
Of course, being in a coma didn’t impart any miraculous lessons ala Phenomenon; she had been studying German already.
Still, it’s interesting to think about how the brain handles language if her first language (Croatian) is suddenly inaccessible and her facility with a second language she’d been studying is enhanced.
I don’t know how much follow-up there will be in this case, though I’d be very interested to learn if her Croatian returns, and if so, will she still retain a high-level of German proficiency?