Most people would love to become fluent in another language overnight but we doubt they’d be happy suffering brain damage to achieve it.
An Italian man has become ‘fluent’ in French after suffering brain damage even behaving like a stereotypical French man, The Independent reports.
The 50-year-old anonymous man, who never expressed any interest in French culture before, has become obsessed with all things French including films, books and food.
A recent study from the University of Edinburgh, claims that although the man had learnt French at school he’d not spoken it ‘for decades’ and that he’d briefly dated a French woman back in his 20s.
But the study found that he’d never ‘manifested a particular attachment to French culture or French cuisine’ before his brain injury.
The report which was published in the journal Cortex says that his French is full of inaccuracies, and he speaks with an ‘exaggerated intonation’ at a fast pace using a ‘movie-like prosody and posing as a typical caricature of a French man’.
Interestingly while he insisted on speaking French, he continued to write in Italian.
The report’s authors added:
He uses French to communicate with everybody who is prepared to listen; he speaks French with his bewildered Italian relatives, with the consultants; he spoke French even in front of the befuddled committee deciding on his pension scheme.
He claims that he cannot but speak French, he believes that he is thinking in French and he longs to watch French movies (which he never watched before), buys French food, reads French magazines and seldom French books, but he writes only in Italian.
The man from Italy strangely shows no annoyance when people don’t understand his French.
He also suffers from other behavioural problems such as delusions of grandeur, disturbed sleep and unjustified euphoria which he calls ‘joie de vivre’.
Apparently this strange condition is a rare but not unique medical phenomenon called compulsive foreign language syndrome and around 60 people across the world have woken up speaking in a foreign language after a head injury.