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Ah, insomnia...

3am and nothing doing sleep-wise. I was reading Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, and he mentions a condition called Broca's aphasia. It occurs in patients who have suffered some sort of localized brain injury, like a stroke or a bullet wound. It causes the patient to lose the ability to use language. Not just that they can't speak - they lose language. The muscles used to speak still function - Pinker refers to one patient who could still blow out candles and such - but they are unable to speak, write, or read.

As if this condition weren't painful enough, the patient shows signs of realizing their condition. Standard I.Q. tests show that non-language-based functions (drawing, computation, construction) were still normal or above. But language is gone. There are rare occurances of patients regaining use of language, but it's a slow, uphill battle.

I can't even imagine losing language. I always thought that my biggest fear would be to become blind - losing images and sights and the faces of my friends and family. But I would still be able to communicate, to write, to speak. Without that ability, I don't know how I would be able to function.

What do you think?


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Aug. 30th, 2003 08:25 am (UTC)
There's a slim chance that I'd find ways to communicate without having to use language. Most likely, I think that would be terrible.

Although, since I'm not a very visual person at all, but am much more auditory, I think I'd fear going deaf before going blind. All those Catholic school warnings about losing my eyesight if I kept that fell on deaf ears, with me.

(confused yet?)

- Eric
Aug. 30th, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)
No question
Being deaf would be a bummer, for the loss of music and voices.
Being blind would be sad for the loss of facial expressions and color and visual beauty (and you'd get a lot more bruised running into stuff.)
But losing language would be the worst. To no longer be able to communicate would be like being totally cut off from people. It would be so hard to understand others, and to be understood. That would be awful.

I can't decide whether I'd rather lose language or be quadripleigic, but I think I'm just grateful that I can speak, see, hear and walk--We have so many blessings, when you stop and think about it.

Thank you, for giving me a reason to stop and think. :)
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