After stroke, Englishman awakes speaking fluent Welsh

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SALT LAKE CITY — In a strange case of aphasia, an Englishman surprised doctors and his family after a stroke left him speaking fluent Welsh and no English.

Alun Morgan, 81, suffered a stroke recently and didn't regain consciousness for three weeks. When he awoke, he spoke fluent Welsh and said he could not remember any English.

Doctors believe that Morgan, who was evacuated as a boy to Wales during World War II, internalized the language without realizing it. Somehow, they speculate, his brain unlocked what he knew after his stroke, The Telegraph reported.

The man was formally diagnosed with aphasia, which leaves patients with trouble formulating or comprehending language. The condition that jumbles a patient's words occurs in 21 to 38 percent of acute stroke patients. Morgan's case of speaking a real language, however, is unique.

Morgan said the first thing he did to learn English again was to find a good Welsh-to-English dictionary.

"I'd not lived in Wales since I was evacuated there during the war. Gradually the English words came back, but it wasn't easy,'' he told The Telegraph.

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof


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