Aphasia

Currently one of my favorite authors is Henning Mankell, the Swedish author of the Kurt Wallander series of detective novels.  Recently, several of his novels were made into a TV series starring Kenneth Brannagh, and they have been sitting on my Tivo waiting me to read those specific books so I can then watch the movies.

Most recently I finished The Man Who Smiled, an excellent investigation into the death of a pair of lawyers.  At one point, the illness of aphasia is mentioned.

Aphasia is the loss of the ability to speak or understand language caused specifically by brain damage.  The word comes from the Greek aphatos or speechless.  The O.A.D. contrasts it directly with aphonia, which is the inability to speak through damage to the vocal chords or mouth.  Aphonia comes from the Greek for without voice.

It is an interesting dichotomy.  Two people, both with the same inability but stemming from very different problems.  A smarter, less tired, man might be able to draw an interesting metaphor out of it.  Hmmm…what would the Greeks call a man unable to communicate due to sheer exhaustion?

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