Car crash survivor gains new talent

September 10, 2014

A 22 year old Australian man woke up from a week-long coma with an unexpected new talent – he can now speak fluent Mandarin!

Ben McMahon was put into the coma after a serious car accident and his new language skills were triggered after he saw an Asian nurse at the hospital.

Ben told the nurse “Excuse me nurse, I feel really sore here,” in perfect Mandarin. He says he wasn’t instantly aware that he wasn’t speaking English, and explained that he simply began speaking what felt natural to him.

Ben had learned Mandarin at school but had never reached the level where he could speak the language fluently.

Ben also found he could write in Mandarin and continued to speak the language for a few days while he was recovering and then had to relearn English!

After Ben had recovered he enrolled in a Mandarin class at University, began Mandarin walking tours, entered an international Chinese language competition and even co-hosted a Chinese TV show.

One of his friends says that Ben can speak Mandarin better than some Chinese, Japanese and Korean people he knows.

Doctors are not sure how the accident allowed Ben to gain the Mandarin skills but one theory is that the part of the brain that knew English was damaged and the part that deals with Mandarin woke up and took over.

Some crazy stuff, right?!

Article written by  D Mulhern

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Chief Editor

About Chief Editor

My name is Shem Banbury. I am the owner and Chief Editor of Kiwi Kids News. By day I am a school teacher and by night a wannabe triathlete.

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that is so crazy, how did that happen?!?!


I would choose Italian because I love pasta and Italy is really cool and someone in my class speaks fluent Italian as well as English and it sounds really awesome!


That's crazy, He just been in a car crash and he can speak different language amazing.


真棒!!!that means WOW!!


I wish I could speak mandarin


sounds like what happened to my uncle Fredrick




OMG That is very amazing and also very weird and it completely blew my mind away


weird but fantabulas (fabulas with a twist)


oh wow! if i had done he same thing i would choose french or just have mandarin. maybe the crash damaged the part of the brain that controls the english and the hit made his brain all weird and made him speak mandarin!


Creepy and epic:)


wow I want to speak that!!!


Wonder how that happend? I would choose spanish


Creepy but it makes sense


that's like the guy that had that mathematical ability after he woke from a coma. The mind rely is a mysterious place.


That is so awsome I mean imagine you waking up in hospital
and you start saying mandarin when you did not even know
the language. That is just creepy and cool


I would choose POLISH or ITALIAN for piano...


That is so weird! I learn Mandarin in school, like Ben McMahon, but I am definetly not fluent in it!!


Ku zhe shi jingren ( that means cool that's amazing )


Creepy cool


I reckon that it would be cool to wake up not knowing that your'e in a hospital and speak a totally different language. If I was in hospital and I woke up speaking another language I would choose ITALIAN & SPANISH or maybe FRENCH


What the heck. That is so cool.




wow awesome i wish i was him


amazing and weird at the same time


woah I wonder how this happened?!?!?!


That is strange but cool.