Humains étranges – Syndrome d’accent étranger

BEDA 2018

For those who aren’t familiar with some very very poor french the title reads Weird Humans – Foreign Accent Syndrome.

See what I did there!

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a weird and rare medical condition where patients develop speech patterns associated with foreign accents. It was first described in 1907 by neurologist Pierre Marie and it is such a strange condition that the accent can be from somewhere that the patient has never even visited! This rare disorder typically comes about as a side effect following stroke or other brain injury. The person with the condition not only changes the tone of voice, but will also change tongue placement during speech.

FAS has been documented in cases around the world, including accent changes from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American-English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian.

Some common speech changes associated with FAS include:

  • Fairly predictable errors
  • Unusual prosody, including equal and excess stress (especially in multi-syllabic words)
  • Consonant substitution, deletion, or distortion
  • Voicing errors (i.e. bike for pike)
  • Trouble with consonant clusters
  • Vowel distortions, prolongations, substitutions (i.e. “yeah” pronounced as “yah”)
  • “uh” inserted into words

Treatments generally include extensive speech therapy to try and correct FAS.

Here is a rather strange case study reported by the BBC:

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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