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Migraine Causes British Woman to Speak With Chinese Accent Video

Foreign Accent Syndrome Is Bloody Confusing

Whenever I hang out with Brits or Aussies I have to stop myself from speaking with their accents. No, this embarrassing habit does not mean I have foreign accent syndrome. Rather people with the syndrome start speaking with a foreign accent following a severe brain injury that affects the speech area of the brain. This phenomenon made the news recently after a British woman's migraine caused her to start speaking with what sounds like a Chinese accent. You can listen to her in this video.

CNN also interviewed an American woman who unwillingly adopted a British accent. Although she was born in Indiana and never even visited England, she's now using British phrases and mannerisms to go along with her accent. Science says that foreign vocabulary and syntax are not a result of the injury. In fact, people with foreign accent syndrome do not really acquire a foreign accent, but rather their speech has been impaired in a way that it sounds like it. So if a stroke causes someone to lose the ability to pronounce "Rs," you might think she sounds Bostonian when she says she's going to "pahk the cah"!

Join The Conversation
neonbee neonbee 7 years
Wow. I had a British accent a few years and people always find it weird that now I sound Canadian/North American (well, I live in Montreal, eh). The Brit accent still comes naturally when I'm around Brits, but these days, I sound like everybody else here.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
My dad's from Tennessee, so my siblings and I will sometimes say certain words with the influence of the southern dialect (for example, "orange" sometimes comes out "arnge"). But developing an accent because you're surrounded by it (like moving somewhere and picking up the local accent) is probably pretty normal. But suddenly developing one because of a brain injury? Crazy! I believe I read somewhere that humans mimic the voices of people they are having conversations with because matching your voice to someone else is a common social response. It's like the human way of showing "don't worry, I am not a threat to you. I do not want to dominate you. I am at your level." I remember I was volunteering in a classroom last year and the teacher had a throat infection and lost her voice. She was whispering to me and I kept whispering back my responses instead of just talking normally. I had to really stop myself from whispering to her. It was kind of embarrassing haha
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
Ahh, yes! I do know what you are talking aboot! It took me over one year to shake the Bostonian accent I'd picked up while living there. When I moved back to Minnesota (you betcha!), I didn't exactly blend in!
dexaholic dexaholic 7 years
I do the same thing! I try to catch myself before anyone really notices, but I think that just makes me sound even more Canadian... you know what I'm talking aboot?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I have a tendency to pick up a Southern accent after a day or two of hanging with my mostly Southern friends from law school. It's rather embarrassing, to be honest. Heck, even watching the Blind Side my BF looked at me and said "honey, we do not live in Louisiana anymore."
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Oh man so it is real! A couple of years back I heard of a Filipino man who got struck on the head really badly and woke up with a British accent. I actually called BS. Mann the brain is a mystery.
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