Several years ago, I read about certain cases of complete or partial language loss in patients (mostly soldiers) who had previously suffered certain brain damage.

The research included several cases, but the most interesting were the ones in which the patients suffered damage in various spots of language centres (and were unable to speak either properly or at all) but some of them could still use swear words or say Mum or Dad because these were stored in the emotional parts.

For some time now I have been searching for it but I can't fine anything of that kind.

If you have read or come across with similar cases, could you please share the link?

Thank you in advance.

  • 3
    The word you are looking for is "aphasia". There are so many studies of aphasia that you could spend a lifetime just cataloging the studies that have been done.
    – user6726
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 21:59
  • I have read a few examples fairly recently and might still be able to locate them but they were not in English, so presumably would be of little use to you. The examples were given in a book on the problem of glottogenesis ('the genesis of human speech').
    – tum_
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 5:28
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a question about health and cognitive (medical) conditions, not about linguistics. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 11:32
  • @bytebuster I'd say cognitive conditions that may shed light on how language is processed are very much in the realm of linguistics.
    – LjL
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


Yes, there was a case of Michael Boatwright, an American who suffered a brain injury and woke up apparently only able to speak Swedish. He had been a native English speaker who lived for an extended period of time in Sweden, learning Swedish to a high level. Sources that I've read about this incident claim that it is evidence for the oft-stated truism that adults learn languages "differently" than children, and that studying him could help us understand that process further.

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