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article imageEnglishman wakes up from stroke speaking fluent Welsh

By Anne Sewell     Dec 27, 2012 in Odd News
Alun Morgan, 81, suffered a severe stroke and when he came around he was speaking fluent Welsh, although he had never spoken the language before.
Mr Morgan was evacuated to Wales during World War II, but left when he was 10 and lived his life in England. While in Wales as a child, he never actually learned the language, but he was constantly surrounded by Welsh speakers.
It seems that somehow, he absorbed the language during his brief stay in Wales.
Mr Morgan was apparently watching television recently and his wife suddenly noticed that he was not responding and he was taken to hospital. It turned out that he had suffered a severe stroke.
When he regained consciousness some three weeks later, doctors were surprised that he was speaking fluent Welsh, and that he could not remember any English. It seems the part of his brain that had absorbed the Welsh language had been unlocked, and Mr Morgan now has to learn English all over again.
Mr Morgan told the Bath Chronicle: "I don't remember anything from the time of my stroke."
"But gradually I started speaking a few words in Welsh."
"This was strange because I'd not lived in Wales since I was evacuated there during the war."
Mr Morgan is retired and lives with his wife Yvonne in Bathwick, Somerset. His wife was the only one who could understand him when he first came out of the stroke.
He told the Telegraph, "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.''
According to doctors, Mr Morgan had suffered with aphasia, which is a form of brain damage that causes a shift in the brain's language center.
The Communication Support Service, which is run by the Stroke Association in Bath has been helping him.
According to Chris Clark, UK Director of Life After Stroke Services:
“Stroke can have a big affect on individuals and lead to personality and physical changes. With a stroke, blood supply to the brain is cut off and in the areas starved of oxygen, brain cells die and damage can be caused.
“Aphasia is caused by damage to the areas of the brain responsible for language.
"As a result, individuals who were previously able to communicate through speaking, understanding, reading and writing become more limited in their ability to do so."
In the meantime, Mr Morgan seems to be coping well with his language skills, as can be seen in the video above.
More about English, Welsh, englishman, Stroke
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