Fluent Dysphasia

Yesterday I found an amusing short film called Fluent Dysphasia, which tells the story of an Irish man who wakes up one morning after a night of heavy drinking to find that he speaks Irish fluently and can no longer speak or understand English. Beforehand he spoke nothing but English, so he is very surprised and worried by the change. His best friend thinks he’s gone mad or is possessed, and the only person who understands him is his daughter.

Recently there was a real life case similar to the one portrayed in the film – a Czech motorcyclist who started speaking English fluently after an accident. In this case, his English fluency disappeared again after a few days and he had no memory of it.

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This entry was posted in Irish, Language.

7 Responses to Fluent Dysphasia

  1. That sounds like an interesting movie. I’ll have to check it out. I’ve heard that this is relatively common with people who have traumatic experiences or brain damage.

  2. Tulugaq says:

    I’m so glad to see this movie mentioned here! A fellow grad student and I stumbled across a review of it a few months ago and we’re dying to see it. Been a bit of a hassle tracking down a copy, though.

  3. Junko says:

    I don’t want to forget English or Japanese, but I’d love to suddenly be able to speak Welsh fluently (with the Northern accent, of course) but without having an accident.

  4. Seumas says:

    Choimhead mi e, cha robh e dona!

    What dialect of Irish Gaelic was that? To my surprise, I could follow most of it (which I cannot say of some of the dialects). Scots Gaelic speakers generally find Irish easy enough to read, but to listen to it can often be far more problematic.

  5. Simon says:

    It sounds like the Ulster dialect to me – Stephen Rea, the actor who plays the main characters is from Belfast, so it probably is Ulster Irish that he’s speaking.

  6. Colm says:

    Yah it’s Ulster Irish. Of the three main dialects it’s the easiest for a speaker of Scottish Gaelic to understand, for obvious reasons. :-)

    Cool and weird story about the Czech guy :-/

  7. di Nata says:

    The movie sounds interesting, but I’m sure it’s almost impossible to be able to find it in Indonesia, where I live now
    Believe it or not, in the country, (where most people are still very superstitious), a person in a trance can speak languages they normally don’t know at all…
    There was a news that 20 javanese high school students fell into a deep trance after a banyan tree in the school was cut, and when they were in a trance, all of them spoke fluent chinese.
    in Java, it’s not uncommon that people could suddenly speak Kawi or Sanskrit (which has already been extinct) when they were in a trance. They know that it was Kawi or Sanskrit because some Kawi or Sanskrit vocabularies were still used in Javanese court language.
    Sometimes my peasant grandma would speak fluent french when she wasn’t concentrating… however, when she gained consciousness, she didn’t even have the foggiest idea what ‘Je t’aime’ was…
    I thought she was pretending, but my grandpa said, his friends sometimes complained that he too could suddenly speak fluent dutch without realising that he did so…
    I don’t know whether it can be explained scientifically, but I do hope it can, as I don’t want to believe what other people told me: spirits were talking through them..