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Language learning good for health

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Geekie, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    That's really interesting, Otter. I had heard of people suddenly being able to speak a new language after a stroke, but not people who have lost their mother tongue and not a second language.
  2. I became interested in this when a Welsh friend (who is herself bilingual) told me about her mother, forgetting how to speak English.
    There is an explanation. After a certain age, probably puberty, any additional language is stored in a differnt section in the brain. If you are brought up to be bilingual both your languages are stored in the same part of the brain. This partly explains why bilingual people can speak both languages with faultless accents. Certainly without interference between the languages.
    However as languages learnt after puberty are stores in a different parts of the brain, if you suffer a stroke you can lose one language but the other is unaffected. However if you lose the use of your one and only language, that's it. You are literally struck dumb.
  3. A boy who went to the same school as I did had a car accident when he was 19. When he woke from his coma, he couldn't speak a word of German. Got by quite well in English for a few weeks, until the German came back. He said it was really a frightening experience.

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