Language and Cognition in a savant*s mind

Language and Cognition in a savant’s mind
Ianthi Maria Tsimpli
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and NIAS
Christopher is a polyglot-savant with exceptional language learning abilities, atypical autistic
behaviour, apraxia and visuo-spatial deficits. I will present the attested strengths and
weaknesses in Christopher’s languages, in his language learning abilities and in other aspects of
his cognition, mainly on false-belief tasks and memory. It will be argued that asymmetries are
found within language abilities indicating that language is an umbrella term including properties
which are more or less sensitive to non-linguistic cognitive abilities.