The Phoenix

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This Czech Bounced

I've written about Foreign Accent Syndrome and xenoglossy a while back. I told the story of Tiffany Noelle Roberts, born and raised in the good 'ol US of A. But after recovery from a stroke, Ms. Roberts spoke with a perfect English accent (an accurate blend of English Cockney and West County).

It seems the brain is still a mystery, and after a head trauma, you're never quite sure what you're going to get. Take Czech motorcycle speedway racer, Matej Kus for example...

The 18 year-old had a terrible accident on the track last week, and was knocked out cold for 45 minutes. His teammates rushed to his side, along with paramedics. They were all relieved when Kus finally awoke. But his buddies instantly knew something was very strange about their teammate: Matej Kus spoke perfect English.
Kus's English prior to that moment was very limited, his teammates remarked. But right there, in front of them, as Matej was speaking to the paramedics about his injuries, he spoke in absolute crystal clear English.

Peter Waite, the promoter for Kus's team, the Berwick Bandits, said: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was in a really clear English accent, no dialect or anything. Whatever happened in the crash must have rearranged things in his head. Matej didn't have a clue who or where he was when he came round. He didn't even know he was Czech. It was unbelievable to hear him talk in unbroken English."

Kus flew home, and his ability to speak English disappeared as he recovered. In fact, he needed an interpreter to speak with the media for him. Despite a knee injury, a near-death experience, a strange and sudden ability to speak another language, and then having that ability just as suddenly disappear, Kus still has his sense of humor. Via his interpreter, he said:

"Hopefully I can pick English up over the winter for the start of next season so I'll be able to speak it without someone having to hit me over the head first."

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23 Comments:

Blogger BrianAlt said...

Ouch! Uhodit se.

9/18/2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Nessa / Goldennib said...

Could we market that instead of The Rosetta Stone system?

9/18/2007 12:24 PM  
Blogger delmer said...

"Hopefully I can pick English up over the winter for the start of next season so I'll be able to speak it without someone having to hit me over the head first."

You do have to admire his sense of humor about the accident.

9/18/2007 12:57 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

That's pretty darned amazing!
I'm currently learning Spanish. Maybe I should have someone bash me in the head with something in order to make me fluent in Spanish.
Head injuries are indeed complex. My dad fell on his job at a construction site several years ago. He had a head injury, and it really knocked him silly for a long time. We noticed differences in his ability to process things. Over time, he returned to normal.

9/18/2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

He truly had a sense of humor about his accident.

9/18/2007 4:34 PM  
Blogger phred said...

One night in Reynosa, I began speaking perfect Spanish, ( after 6-8 shots ). Si ?

9/18/2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

great sense of humor hes got!

Keshi.

9/18/2007 11:38 PM  
Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

It shits me to tears to think (as an Australian, especially) that the English are engrained in us all. I'm sorry, excuse me while I go break something from Britain.

9/19/2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

That's crazy! These bonk-on-head speak-another-language stories really get me. It sounds like the type of "cures" they performed in the Victorian era.

"Hold perfectly still... this will help with your schoolwork, trust me."

9/19/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Mr. Shife said...

That is pretty funny. I wish someone would hit me over the head so I can forgot about this year's Cardinals baseball team, and just remember last year's World Series.

9/19/2007 2:02 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Just catching up after vacation ...

This is amazing to me. It also explains why I often break into "G'Day, mate" rants.

-- david

9/19/2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Well, if that's all it takes to learn another language, excuse me while I go hit my head.

{grin}

9/19/2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

wow,cool story. Yes, the brain is a mystery, indeed!

9/20/2007 9:15 AM  
Blogger Phats said...

Hmm interesting stories here. If I ever have this unfortunate thing happen I would like to come to with an Aussie accent.

9/21/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Mr. Shife- I decided to perform a partial lobotomy on myself about a week ago in order to forget the '07 season. I posted somewhere else today that, in almost 50 years of being a Cards fan, this has been the toughest season to endure. I can only imagine what it's been like for the team itself.

9/21/2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Godwhacker said...

I've been so busy lately I haven't visited in a while. Today I caught up. The last few posts are great!

9/23/2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

Bizarre!!!!

Love his sense of humor :)

9/24/2007 5:24 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I really need to learn Spanish but I really don't need to learn it that bad.

9/24/2007 9:46 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

BTW, Great title.

9/24/2007 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great story but what in tar-nation did he say? Leave us with some quotes or questions he asked. That would help determine perhaps the origins of his english skill. He spoke english in a prior lifetime and retains it in his consciousness. It's beyond his ability to reference it, but retained nonetheless. The crash shook things up (from a consciousness standpoint) just as his recovery once again concealed things.

9/25/2007 5:02 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Fuzz, thanks for noticing. I was hoping someone would comment about that.

Anonymous, I did leave you with a quote - translated. The link to my older post about this strange disorder is more factual. That was about a lady that had a VERY SPECIFIC British accent, not a stupid fake one like Kevin Coster as Robin Hood or Renee Zellweigger in her Diaries movies.

How did some lady from a hick town in Atlanta speak a very accurate dialect of British English???

9/25/2007 5:44 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

I wish someone had hit me over the head prior to my Spanish 5 final in high school.

Next time I head up to Montreal could you swing by and take a jar of Helleman's to my head so that when I come to I'll speak perfect French-Canuck?

9/25/2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger Ewen Nicolson said...

I was at this meeting. It was in Glasgow and Kjus was riding for the visiting team, Berwick Bandits. Can't remember his crash as such, there are so many and it was a good few years ago. The Xenoglossy thing was very much a media story. Unsure if it was the Berwick Bandits promoter trying to get a few media miles out of it for his club, or if it was something that really happened.

He spoke no English, but had begun to study it and would have been around English speakers whilst riding in Britain. Subconscious storage maybe?

Still, cracking story regardless.

2/02/2011 12:44 PM  

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