Foreign accent syndrome

by Jeanette Sakel

On the BBC webpage today: a lady from Plymouth who woke up after a migraine (maybe a minor stroke?) having lost her West Country accent and speaking with a Chinese accent instead:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23953314

There is a short video, which is interesting to watch. They also interview speech and language therapists about this case.

What struck me, was that in careful speech her accent was much more pronounced than when she was speaking without thinking too carefully about how to pronounce things!

Having a foreign accent can be fine – like, I don’t mind my German accent in English, I’m actually quite fond of it. It’s part of my background, and my identity. But if you have a foreign accent without that identity (as is the case with the lady in the video), that can have a major impact on your wellbeing!

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One comment

  1. An interesting video, Jeanette. It must be hard for sufferers of FAS to be taken seriously, particularly as it may seem that they are putting on an accent. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about your own accent: do people seem to respond differently to you in the UK compared with Germany? How about when you speak German in Germany: do you now have an English accent?

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