A case of temporary aphasia
A 65-year-old Chinese man is a retired English teacher and a 40-year smoker. One day his right limb felt paralyzed and he lost his ability to speak. He was hospitalized at the Wuhan City Central Hospital and was diagnosed as having had a stroke with damage to the left brain.
One day, a nurse saw the old man moving his mouth. She approached and heard him count in English in a very faint voice. The nurse informed the doctor and the doctor came to check him out. When the doctor asked him questions in Chinese, the old man nodded but could not speak. Then the doctor asked a question in English. The old man immediately answered back loudly in English. Subsequent conversations between the old man and the doctor and nurses proceeded in English for two weeks. And by this time, the old man seemed to have regained his ability to speak Chinese again.
The old man suffered a transient ischemic attack and cerebral blood flow to the language center of the left brain was disrupted.
Another case is of a 94-year-old woman suffering from cerebral infarction and being comatose who woke up in a Hunan hospital speaking English. When asked in Chinese: “How old are you?”, she answered “Ninety four” in English. Reportedly, she is able to understand Chinese but is unable to speak Chinese, which is her native tongue. Another curious aspect is that nobody knows how a 94-year-old Chinese woman is able to speak English.