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Say What? Foreign Accent Syndrome Is Real

Say What? Foreign Accent Syndrome Is Real

Rosemary Dore, 50, of Windsor, Ontario in Canada, is one special lady. She’s one of only a handful of documented people to develop foreign accent syndrome. (Suppress your urge to laugh, because yes, it’s a real syndrome). In fact, she’s Canada’s first case in history.

The extremely rare foreign language syndrome health diagnosis occurs following an ischemic stroke, also called a mini stroke, and changes the way people speak. When specific areas in the left hemisphere of the brain are affected in the mini stroke, foreign language syndrome can result. In Dore’s case, she developed an accent similar to the Canadian East Coast accent even though she has lived in southern Ontario all of her life and had never been to the East Coast.

Researchers emphasize that foreign language syndrome isn’t the same as developing a “fake” foreign accent. In actuality, it’s a unique phonological change in a person’s motor speech network that can mimic specific accents, which explains how Dore suddenly talked in an accent even though she’d never lived there or had any relatives from there.

If you could pick an accent to suddenly adopt, what would it be? [CBC News]

Posted: 7/8/08