English woman develops French-sounding accent after migrane
By Raphael G. Satter | TheStar.com
A woman from a village in southwestern England says that a severe migraine attack left her speaking with what sounds like a French accent — a striking example of a rare syndrome that neuroscientists say can leave lifelong locals sounding like they come from thousands of kilometres away.
Kay Russell appeared on the BBC earlier this week, speaking in a hesitant, husky voice, drawing out her vowels with an accent which sounded roughly French, or occasionally Eastern European. The broadcaster also showed a video of Russell before the change, in which she speaks to the camera in chirpy southern English accent.
Russell shook her head and smiled sadly as the video played.
“When I see that, I see the person I used to be,” the 49-year-old said. “It’s not my voice I miss. I would love to have my own voice back, but it goes way, way, way beyond my voice.”
It wasn’t exactly clear what happened to Russell in January when the migraine attack struck — a number for her could not be located and there was no immediate response to an attempt to reach her through her previous employer. The BBC identified her condition as Foreign Accent Syndrome, known only in a few dozen cases across the world.
Foreign Accent Syndrome (Kay Russell)
Video from: YouTube.com
Previous cases have included people whose newly found accents sounded German, Spanish, Welsh, Italian or Irish. In 2006 a woman from the northern England city of Newcastle reportedly swapped a Geordie twang for a Jamaican inflection following a stroke. In 2009, an English man woke up from brain surgery speaking with what one newspaper described as a perfect Irish lilt. And earlier this year a German-born Briton reportedly adopted a Chinese accent following a migraine attack.
The rare disorder doesn’t mean that patients somehow become foreign — in many cases, those diagnosed with the condition have never had any significant exposure to the country where their new accent appears to come from.
What sounds like an accent can be the product of a simple shift in the way people move their mouths or emphasize certain syllables following a stroke or other brain injury, said Sophie Scott, a researcher at University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.
“People might put little vowel sounds in their speech, so they might-a sound-a little-a like-a this — that’s read by English speakers as being an Italian accent,” she said.
The effect can be devastating. The BBC suggested that Russell had yet to make her peace with her new way of speaking, noting that she had lost her job and her confidence. Russell jokingly told the broadcaster she was considering placing an ad in the paper’s lost-and-found section.
“Maybe at the end of the day someone could find me,” she said.
Scott said that kind of attitude wasn’t unusual, describing one Foreign Accent Syndrome patient who felt more comfortable in a London hotel lobby than in her own hometown, where well-meaning strangers often embarrassed her by asking if she needed help getting around. Scott said that feeling of alienation was part of what of what made the condition so unique.
“It’s not only that you don’t sound like who you are,” she said. “You don’t sound like the others around you either.”
Article from: thestar.com
A Severe Migraine Could Give You a New Accent
Croatian girl wakes up from a coma speaking fluent German
Latest News from our Front Page
"Too many white people" in Pittsburgh says government official
According to Abby Wilson, the deputy director of the Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Policy and Community Relations in Allegheny County, there are too many White people in Pittsburgh.
She left Pittsburgh to work in South Africa and then study in the Netherlands, but now that she’s back, she wants to change it.
“My two main gripes (about Pittsburgh) are: too ...
Judge blocks group from releasing more Planned Parenthood videos
The pro-life group behind a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos accused the bioservice firm StemExpress late Wednesday of trying to â€ścover up this illegal baby parts tradeâ€ť after the company obtained a court order blocking the release of footage.
The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a temporary injunction Tuesday stopping the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video showing ...
US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will â€śgo where facts lead.â€ť
The agency made the announcement via Twitter Thursday.
Also Thursday, the Eden Prairie Police Department said that, while they will be stepping up neighborhood monitoring, they will not be providing personal protection for the dentist who killed ...
Dispute over bounced check caused brutal Hollywood shotgun killing: Cops
Carrie Melvin, an aspiring Hollywood production assistant, was strolling with her boyfriend not far from Sunset Boulevard on the evening of July 5 when someone murdered her with a shotgun. Police have now arrested a suspect, Ezeoma Obioha, 31, and say his motivation was likely a dispute over a bounced check worth just a few hundred dollars.
A Los Angeles ...
California Drought Could Wipe Cities Off Map If Their Water Runs Out
The epicenter of Californiaâ€™s drought crisis is in the Central Valley, where there are growing fears the drought could wipe entire towns off of the map.
Wells are going dry, jobs are harder to come by and families are already moving, either to different states or even Mexico in search of work.
Before visiting Tulare County, a place where wells have gone ...
|More News » |