Did you know that people waking up from a coma speaking a foreign language is an actual ‘thing?’ Yeah, it’s called bilingual aphasia and supposedly occurs when one area of the brain that learns a language is damaged while another remains untouched.
Michel Paradis, a neurolinguist at McGill University in Montreal, says that this happens so much it doesn’t surprise him. Well, it surprised the fuck out of me so I went looking for some cases.
Woke up speaking Swedish
A man woke up in a hotel room in Palm Springs, California. He had no idea who he was and spoke only Swedish. He called himself Johan Ek, but all his documents said he was born in Florida as Michael Boatwright. And though he’d lived in Japan and China, he spoke Swedish exclusively. He calls the whole situation a nightmare. I concur.
Dujomir Marasovic mysteriously fell into a 24-hour coma in her native Croatia. Well, mysterious to them. She lives in fucking Eastern Europe. Shit is weird over there. Just like her 24-hour coma. Anyway, she woke up from this coma speaking fluent German, a language the 13 year old girl had just started studying in school. Her Croatian, however? Not so good. She had to talk to her parents through a translator.
Australian speaks Mandarin
Australian Ben McMahon studied Mandarin in high school but still kinda sucked at it when he got into a serious car accident. When he came out of a week long coma, he didn’t suck at it at all. In fact, he was so fluent he would later get jobs speaking it for Chinese tours of Melbourne and a Chinese tv show. Unfortunately, he had to relearn English for a few days. But at least he got a job out of the whole thing. As comas go, that’s kind of a maximum benefit situation.
You can see his story here:
Aw France sibooplay?
Rory Curtis woke up from his coma speaking fluent French, a language he had limited experience using, and thinking he was Matthew McConaughey. That said, dude is lucky to be alive.
He suffered a pelvic injury and brain damage after his van flipped over and five, yeah, FIVE, vehicles plowed into it. He was in a coma for six days and came out thinking he was a Hollywood star. He eventually figured out that he was wrong about who he was, but still had his French-speaking ability two years later.
An 81-year-old man named Alun Morgan was evacuated to Wales during WWII. Despite living there as a 10 year old, he never learned the language. He moved back to England after the war and lived there for 71 years before suffering a stroke that put him in a coma. Three weeks later he came out of it speaking Welsh and absolutely no English. Having heard Welsh I think he would probably have preferred the coma.
Perfect English? Englishman can’t do that!
Matej Kus was an 18 year old Czech speedway rider when he suffered a crash. After a brief coma, he woke up speaking perfect English to his ambulance techs and in a British accent no less. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t last long. Soon after the accident he went back to speaking broken English. But I’m sure he’ll have another crash that will fix that real quick.