Xenoglossy is the ability to speak a language without having ever learned it.
Are there any real documented cases?
Researchers on the topic distinguish between two types: recitative and responsive. In the first case, recitative xenoglossy, a person may repeat foreign language words, phrases and sentences without conscious recollection of ever having heard them.
While rare, recitative xenoglossy can be explained by a trick of memory; one learns and stores foreign language sounds in long term memory without awareness of having done so. This may sound impossible, but consider the fact that you are conscious right now of only a tiny amount of the information you have stored in long term memory. Before getting a prompt to retrieve the information, for example, we do not go about our daily business with the image of a platypus in conscious awareness. Yet the stored experience of that unusual egg-laying duck-billed mammal is there.
For most stored information, we also do not typically recall the occasions in which it was originally stored and subsequently reinforced.
In other words, you know far more than you know you know.
Free association, a technique used in some psychotherapies, activates a different type of access to long term memory by bypassing our normal filters for memory recall. This seemingly more random or dream-like access works by suppressing some negative feedback circuits in the brain which give us focus and relevance. In new age and other religious practices, this alternative mode of memory access is experienced as a highly intuitive or spiritual mode.
Recitative xenoglossy definitely happens. The second kind, responsive xenoglossy, is much more rare.
… The parents of the 13-year-old from the southern town of Knin said their daughter had only just started studying German at school and had been trying to read German books and watch German television – but had never been that good in German.
But since waking up the teenager has been unable to speak Croatian and even refused it, but communicates only in perfect German far superior to her mastery of the language she had when she was taken ill.
More at DailyMail
Waking from a coma fluently speaking a language at which you were never very good makes no sense to me. Fluency is the sum of all the things you know and can use in a language, not just a single thing that can be switched on.
How long until we can download new languages and skip the years of learning?