Foreign accent syndrome
I plan to present some conditions, diseases that are extremely rare but really interesting. Foreign accent syndrome is an unusual neurological speech disorder documented in not more than twenty specific studies. It usually follows a severe brain injury, such as a stroke or a head injury. From the aspect of the condition, the most important area is the subcortical region.
It is characterised by the appearance of what is perceived to be a foreign accent in the language of the patient. As the Wikipedia article says:
The syndrome causes people to speak their native language as if they had a foreign accent; for example, an American native speaker might speak with a French-sounding accent… Certain parts of the brain control various linguistic functions, and damage could result in altered pitch or mispronounced syllables, causing the speech to sound accented. The change in speech is not the result of people suffering from the syndrome adopting or imitating any accent; this is merely the perception of people who hear the sufferer speak.
A study pointed out that like aphasia, foreign accent syndrome can occur in Multiple sclerosis as a manifestation of a cortical language disorder. Anyway, as subject cannot avoid this foreign accent, and given its abrupt emergence, this disorder usually involves emotional consequences by loss of identity and of belonging to a speech community.
- A case of foreign accent syndrome, with follow-up clinical, neuropsychological and phonetic descriptions.
- Foreign language syndrome as a first sign of multiple sclerosis
- A rare neurologically originated speech disorder: foreign accent syndrome