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Name: Bill
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Question:
Question from thirteen year old student: If language is a learned behaviour, how come people who experience amnesia don't forget how to talk?



Replies:
Amnesia is not total -- you do not forget everything. Indeed, it is typical to forget the most recent of events, while memory of long-ago events is unimpaired.

I doubt, additionally, that language ability is as closely linked to general memory as the question implies. None of us remembers any event from the age at which we learned to talk and learned our basic vocabulary, and it is possible by cerebrovascular accident to utterly lose the ability to talk without losing any of one's memory.

Dr. C Grayce



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