Foreign Language Accent Syndrome

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The foreign accent syndrome (FAS, English :. Foreign accent syndrome ) is a rare neurological disorder that occasionally after a stroke or head injury occurs. The disease manifests itself in a change in the patient's speech melody , which is often interpreted by outsiders as an accent in a foreign language. For example, the case of a Norwegian woman who apparently spoke with a German accent after suffering a skull injury is known. A Thuringian woman only speaks with a Swiss accent after her third stroke. In another known case, an English woman spoke with what appeared to be a French accent after a severe migraine attack. An American woman speaks a British accent after an operation with a tooth removal. The loss of the accustomed speech pattern and the reactions of the personal environment can lead to severe psychological stress for those affected.

Clinical picture and possible causes

The cases examined all assumed a small-scale injury to the left hemisphere . However, no specific region could be determined that is responsible for the occurrence of the syndrome. In one known case, the syndrome occurred after a violent migraine attack, in which dilated blood vessels in the brain likely led to stroke-like paralysis. Frequently, FAS patients experienced intermittent silence before the onset of the syndrome . The syndrome itself sets in quickly and without a lengthy transition phase. The language changes that occur follow language patterns as they occur in normal language, but no longer the originally spoken accent. On closer examination it could be shown that the occurring patterns are not related to a specific actual language. As a result, bystanders assess them as generally foreign languages ​​and evaluate them according to their perceived similarity.

The rapid onset of the syndrome after language recovery suggests that FAS is not a learned brain damage circumvention. It has therefore been assumed that FAS is triggered by direct damage to the language center or motor centers that are necessary for language .


Web links

Wiktionary: Foreign language accent syndrome  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Woke up and spoke a foreign language. Retrieved March 28, 2013 .
  2. a b English woman wakes up with a French accent. Retrieved September 15, 2010 .
  3. Foreign Accent Syndrome sufferer Kay Russell interviewed. Retrieved September 15, 2010 .
  4. Tami Abdollah, dapd: US citizen speaks with a British accent after surgery Spiegel Online, June 6, 2011.