Croatian Teenager Wakes From Coma Speaking Fluent German

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Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 13, 2010 at 3:55pm
There are things I do in my dreams that I could never do in my waking life as well.
Comment by CJoe on April 13, 2010 at 4:02pm
You're right, Mario, so do I. I go on adventures every night to places I've never seen in my life... I'm not nearly so imaginative while I'm awake! Paul McCartney wrote an entire song in a dream and thought someone else had written it... until he realized he had.
Comment by CJoe on April 13, 2010 at 4:45pm
Wow. That's really incredible. Our brains are weeeird!
Comment by Franco P on April 13, 2010 at 9:04pm
Comment by Reggie on April 14, 2010 at 1:39am
I don't buy this for a second.
Comment by CJoe on April 14, 2010 at 9:33am
Yeah, it'd be slightly more convincing if they had a video, buuut... it is a bit fishy.
Comment by kelltrill on April 14, 2010 at 9:36am
I studied cases like this during a language pathology course in my Linguistics degree. It's legit. These types of things happen when certain areas of the language centre of the brain are adversely affected. I've heard of things like this happening before. It's uncommon but not unusual. Most of the examples and case studies I have are in subscription journal articles I'm afraid so I can't post the links here. Similar areas of the brain are effected in the case of severe stutterers where they can sing and speak their second language fluently but stutter violently only in their first language.
Aphasia, for example, is another interesting language pathology. There are many different kinds, but one of the primary kinds if Wernicke's Aphasia (or fluent Aphasia). A patient who has had a stroke or suffered a brain injury will babble on in completely fluent gibberish but will access all of the wrong lexical items and so no one will be able to understand a word they say.
Comment by CJoe on April 14, 2010 at 9:39am
"fluent gibberish"... what does that mean? I may be reading the sentence wrong, but it sounds like there's actually a "language" of gibberish that the patients are not able to pronounce? Please explain. :)
Comment by CJoe on April 14, 2010 at 10:45am
Ahhh... Aphasia must be what a couple of friends of mine and I spoke when we were in 6th grade! We used to talk non-sense like that all the time because we thought we were so clever. I don't think we had any idea it was actually a condition! But yes, I do see how you could speak that fluently, and apparently I do. So, what Kelly is saying is that they were speaking in that way but still couldn't even say the words right? What a terribly frustrating experience that must be.
Comment by kelltrill on April 14, 2010 at 12:47pm
@ Cara, I just mean the patient can speak unhindered and uninhibited, but the fast flow of the words does not make any sense. I like the example Radu posted :) The thing is, Aphasia is far from a voluntary thing. It is the direct result of damage to the brain resulting in lesions in the Wernicke's or Broca's areas. And you're right, it must be horribly frustrating since with Wernicke's Fluent Aphasia, for example, the patient understands themselves and gets terribly frustrated and confused when other people don't understand them.
@ Radu, the hypothesis you stated has already been documented, so well spotted. There are many cases where someone may have been studying (for example) Spanish as a second language and were really bad at it, then went into a coma or had a stroke or head trauma of some kind and when they emerged from hospital they could speak fluent Spanish but barely any English. The language centres of the brain are very intricate and confusing places.
Consider Broca's Aphasia, which is the non-fluent counterpart of Wernicke's Fluent Aphasia. Where Wernicke's patients struggle with auditory comprehension, Broca's patients are aware that they struggle to access to correct lexical items and so speak very slowly and hesitantly as they try to get their meaning across.
For example: Yes ... ah ... Monday ... er Dad and Peter H ... (his own name), and Dad ... er hospital ... and ah ... Wednesday ... Wednesday nine o'clock ... and oh ... Thursday ... ten o'clock, ah doctors ... two ... an' doctors ... and er ... teeth ... yah.
I don't think there has been a single reported incident involving the event you mention in your last paragraph, Radu. You are right, I strongly doubt that anyone can speak a language they have never been exposed to.
Hence the issue of Glossolalia (speaking in tongues), another fascinating Biblical phenomena that has been Linguistically disproven.


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