Migraine Headache Gives British Woman Chinese AccentApril 21st, 2010 - 1:52 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason
Apr 20 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A woman from Plymouth, Southwest England has suddenly stated speaking with a Chinese accent after suffering from a severe case of migraine headache. Doctors are quite surprised at the sudden change in her speaking, and believe she may have a case of a very rare Foreign Accent Syndrome.
Sarah Colwill says that she has never been to China.”I moved to Plymouth when I was 18 months old so I have always spoken like a local. But following one attack, an ambulance crew arrived and they said I definitely sounded Chinese,” she said.”I spoke to my stepdaughter on the phone from hospital and she didn’t recognize who I was. She said I sounded Chinese. Since then, I have had my friends hanging up on me because they think I’m a hoax caller.”Colwill added: “The first few weeks of the accent was quite funny but to think I am stuck with this Chinese accent is getting me down. My voice has started to annoy me now. It is not my voice.”
Foreign Accent Syndrome usually effects those who have had brain damage from a head injury or stroke when tiny areas of the left side of the brain linked with language, pitch and speech patterns are damaged. There are very few cases reported and it is considered to be rare. It is not actually a foreign accent, but the sufferer may lengthen syllables, alter their pitch or mispronounce sounds, which makes pronunciation sound similar to a foreign accent.
Colwill is now undergoing speech therapy to help her regain some of her regain some of her normal West Country drawl. A video can be seen here showing the accent. Although to me it doesn’t sound Chinese, and sounds more British, I do not know how she sounded before.
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Tags: ambulance crew, brain damage, british woman, drawl, foreign accent syndrome, head injury, left side of the brain, migraine, pitch, plymouth, pronunciation, southwest england, speech patterns, speech therapy, stepdaughter, sudden change, sufferer, syllables, tiny areas, west country