Possible Stroke on Live Television

I was alerted recently of this video. It’s short, and the rest of the post won’t make sense without watching it.

My mate Ally said that “I’m sure there’s some kind of linguistic point to be made here but I have no idea what it is.” My first few times through the video, I was also confused. However, the comment section is where things become clear. At the risk of being one of those reporters who mentions twitter-posts, TopGunMD1 stated:

“Its obvious she just had a STROKE! She is currently suffering from Wernicke’s aphasia, its a very serious problem. I hope her producer realized this and took her to the hospital immediately. If you ever see someone talk like that, call an ambulance or take them to the ER immediately.”

This is most likely a correct diagnosis. What’s happened here is that she’s had a stroke which dealt a debilitating blow to her Wernicke’s area, and she’s lost her recall for words. This might be seen as normal stumbling, but for the fact that she is a reporter, which would mean that she should historically stumble only very rarely, and never this much. Around a third of stroke sufferers develop speech problems, some of which can be reversed later. It is unclear here whether she is merely experiencing aphasia or speech production errors as well.

It looks like her fellows recognised her problem very quickly, and cut back to the next scheduled thing. As well, she’s been taken to the hospital for tests – let’s hope this isn’t permanent.

Author: Richard

I am computational linguistics student at the University of Saarland; my undergraduate in Linguistics was at the University of Edinburgh. I am interested in evolutionary linguistics, particularly involving Bayesian phylogenetics, typology, and computer simulations. I am also interested in data management, web development, open documentation, and scientific workflows. My undergraduate thesis focused on the evolution and significance of word segmentation.

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