chapter  18
6 Pages

Alternating antagonism

In 1895 the English physician Lewis C. Bruce described the clinical case of H.P., a Welsh tailor, aged 47, who had been admitted to hospital on October 25, 1892 because, having suffered from depression for 15 years, he had recently started showing symptoms of agitation, dementia, and destructive behavior (Bruce, 1895). Bruce noticed that the patient alternated between periods when he was noisy and destructive and expressed himself in English (L2) with periods when he was almost in a demential state and mainly spoke

Welsh (Ll). Therefore, the physician defined the two states the "English phase" and the "Welsh phase", respectively, and for three months he carefully observed the patient's behavior. It might be of interest to dwell on some observations made by Bruce:

Nov. 30, 1892. The patient is sitting on a chair, pays no attention to his surroundings, does not seem to recognize tobacco and money. No understanding of English. Uses the left hand to pick up objects and cutlery. Speaks Welsh.