A Man Woke Up From an Induced Coma in 2013 Speaking Fluent Mandarin

Yana Bostongirl

Prior to his near-fatal car crash, Ben McMahon had learned Mandarin in school, however, he was not fluent in it. Following the crash, he went into a coma and woke up a week later speaking Mandarin to the nurse.

His parents were baffled by this turn of events leading the dad, McMahon to say this in an interview with Channel 10's The Project: 'We got the call from the hospital and [the hospital staff member] was saying "Oh Mark, look I just wanted to ring and let you know that Ben's actually started to come out of the coma"...and she said, “I don’t know how to say this...he's speaking Mandarin. Neither of us can speak Mandarin so we just nodded but deep down quite concerned about what’s going on."

This is what Ben had to say in a podcast interview about what his Mandarin was like prior to the accident: "I could have basic conversations with people but I wasn’t fluent. But then, after the accident, my internal monologue, the voice that kind of speaks to you in your head, that just switched."

According to an article published in the daily mail UK, a Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist attributes this to the fact that the car crash might have damaged the part of Ben's brain that recalls English and reactivated the part that learned Mandarin.

The article goes on to cite several incidents where people have woken up speaking languages they were previously not fluent like a 13-year-old girl in Croatia who was suddenly speaking fluent German and the mysterious case of a US Navy veteran who woke up in a motel room speaking fluent Swedish in 2013.

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