Brain surgery changes boy's accent

Last year, nine-year-old William Moore of York, England underwent emergency brain surgery after doctors discovered a brain abscess caused by meningitis. When he finally spoke again, William's Yorkshire accent had completely disappeared and he was now speaking the Queen's English (aka Received Pronunciation). After a long recovery, William is now fine but his Yorkshire dialect never returned. From The Evening Standard:

Brain surgeon Paul Eldridge, who works at the specialist Walton Neurological Centre, Liverpool, said it was possible that the infection and abscess had affected the area of the brain which controls language skills, forcing William to learn how to speak again.

"It's as if he's re-learnt how to talk from listening to language from sources different to those that prompted his speech first time around."

Phil Edge, head of therapy at the brain injury charity, Brainwave, said: "I've heard of other patients developing changes in their speech or behaviour following a head injury or brain surgery, but not quite to this extent that an accent completely changes.

"Usually, a person's speech changes in pitch or tone, but it's interesting that this boy's lost his Yorkshire dialect completely.

"Obviously there has been some change to the central speech centre of his brain which has caused differences in how it is functioning now, compared with before the operation."


UPDATE: Greg Benjamin points us to last week's Daily Mail article about the Czech motorbike racer who crashed and woke up speaking fluent English. Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)