Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • When I was a kid, I looooved doing impressions - I got a kick out of changing my accent and

  • prank calling my friends. But, some people claim to be stuck with a foreign accent. Is

  • that a thing?

  • Hello communicators, Lissette here for DNews. A mother of two who lives in the UK seems

  • to confuse a lot of people. If you saw her in a supermarket, you’d probably guess she

  • was a local, that is, until you hear her speak. Some people think she’s French, others German,

  • Italian, and yet others even Japanese! She just doesn’t sound British. People can’t

  • seem to agree on what accent she has, but they are certain she is speaking in an foreign accent.

  • The thing is, she’s never lived anywhere but the UK, so what’s going on here? Is

  • she faking it?

  • Well, she told a Professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, “I’m not

  • trying to be foreign. I’m just trying to be me.” Turns out, she’s telling the truth.

  • In March 2006 she began involuntarily slurring her words and in the matter of days, her voice

  • had completely changed. Doctors were baffled. But, after numerous tests and observations,

  • she found out that she is one of the more than 140 reported cases of people suffering

  • from a condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome or FAS.

  • Foreign accent syndrome is a motor speech disorder in which a person’s intonation

  • and stress patterns are altered. The way they compose phrases and sentences is also affected.

  • This causes them to be perceived as non-native speakers of their mother tongue. In the UK

  • woman’s specific case, her funny accent was a result of cerebral vasculitis - basically

  • this means that her brain was not receiving enough oxygen in areas responsible for language.

  • But, other types of brain injuries can cause people to have Foreign Accent Syndrome too.

  • Another British woman woke up with a Chinese sounding accent after having a severe migraine.

  • Yet others, have sounded differently since birth. A Dutch boy can’t help but speak

  • in what sounds like a French or Mediterranean accent. Before him, all known cases of Foreign

  • Accent Syndrome were associated with brain damage, so his case tells scientists there

  • may also be a genetic component involved. This is why Dr. Johan Verhoeven from City

  • University London and his team decided to investigate what was going on. By using single

  • emission CT scans, they found that his brain had significantly less blood flow to certain

  • areas compared to other people. They saw reduced flow to the prefrontal cortex in the left

  • hemisphere, which makes sense because this area is associated with speech. But, they

  • also found that he had less blood flow to the right side of his cerebellum. This area

  • is usually not associated with speech - it’s thought to be more strongly linked to body

  • movement. So this finding tells researchers that perhaps the cerebellum is also involved

  • with cognitive functions - like producing speech.

  • People who develop these so called accents are obviously not faking it. It’s a real

  • thing. That being said, calling their condition Foreign Accent Syndrome is a bit of misnomer

  • that may contribute to some people’s skepticism. Nonetheless, for people with FAS, speaking

  • this way is not a matter of choice. It’s just what it is - like a speech impediment.

  • One speech impediment that is a bit controversial is the lisp. Check out my episode on why some

  • people have lisps here.

  • Do you have a favorite accent? Share your thoughts in the comments and remember

  • to subscribe so you never miss an episode of DNews. Thanks for watching.

When I was a kid, I looooved doing impressions - I got a kick out of changing my accent and

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US accent foreign syndrome speech people brain

Can Brain Damage Give You A Foreign Accent?

  • 7106 528
    吳芳綺 posted on 2016/06/08
Video vocabulary