Friday, 04 Jul, 2008 Health & Fitness

Woman Speaks with Foreign Accent after a Stroke


foreign accent syndromeA woman who became a victim of a stroke, recovered from the disease speaking with a strange accent. This is one of the rare cases when a person starts speaking with a new "foreign" accent called foreign accent syndrome (FAS).

Rose Dore, a 52 year-old woman lives with her family in southern Ontario. After she started recovering from a stroke, her family realized that she was speaking differently. For example, she pronounced certain words quite strangely like "tink" for "think", or "dat" for "that", "diss" for "this", "gracey" instead of "greasy" and "rogue" instead of "dog".

Scientists at McMaster’s Cognitive Science of Language program say that the rare condition often results from the neurological damage in certain brain areas. Rose Dore's new accent resembles Newfoundlander's one, characteristic for the East Coast. Interestingly, the woman had never visited that region and never had any contacts with anyone from the Maritimes. Her parents were Irish and Danish and both always lived in southern Ontario.

The woman herself did not seem to notice that she speaks differently, the researchers said. Her speech sounds absolutely normal and nobody thinks that she suffered from a stroke. Taking into account that often strokes result in language loss, the woman's new accent is considered to be a very good outcome.

There were around fifty cases of foreign accent syndrome recorded in the last 60 years with a lot of cases going unreported.

The study was published in the July issue of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.

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