Question from thirteen year old student:
If language is a learned behaviour, how come people who experience amnesia
don't forget how to talk?
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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Update: June 2012