Is it possible to master a foreign language overnight?

A phenomenon that leaves you speechless

Communication with words seems so commonplace and banal that we often forget how complex the language process actually is. You only realise that this isn’t something to be taken for granted when everything no longer works as usual ...

Foreign Language Accent Syndrome
This rare and somewhat droll phenomenon Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) changes in pronunciation or melody as a result of a traumatic head trauma, which can then resemble a foreign accent.

This is because the muscles of speech are no longer coordinated in exactly the same way, and the new combinations of movements lead to a slight change in the way of speaking. An American, for example, always speaks with a British accent.

Bonjour, how are you? Tutto bene, thank you.
The mother tongue is usually located in the left hemisphere, while second languages – especially those acquired later in life – are active in the right hemisphere. If patients wake up and have forgotten their mother tongue but are still able to speak a second language, this may be due to a left brain disorder. As a result, the right hemisphere intervenes as soon as there is a need for communication. Anyone who is bilingual is therefore likely to lose one of the two languages, no matter how often it was used.
People who hadn’t used a language for decades were able to master it fluently in turn – but at the expense of those who had consistently used it before.
As they recovered and regained their abilities, those affected gradually returned to their preferred language skills. language.

Xenoglossy or the miracle of polyglottism

We all dreamt of mastering a language from one day to the next without having to make the effort to learn it. Xenoglossy is a highly controversial, rather esoteric phenomenon: It refers to the ability to speak a foreign language without having learned it or ever heard it. Scientifically speaking, this is simply impossible: In order to have a basic knowledge of a language, one must have been in contact with it, even if only passively. What a pity! That would have been too good to be true.
But there is still one hope: Was your nanny Portuguese or German? Then you may have unwittingly saved the basics of Portuguese or German and one day you will be communicating in the language of fado or Goethe.

Learning foreign languages and their subtleties obviously requires a lot of work and patience, but it may prove very useful or even necessary. The astonishing capabilities of our brain enable us to make use of complex knowledge – and surprise us again and again!

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