Foreign Accent Syndrome: Arizona woman awakes with a British accent

15 February, 2018, 07:50 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Michelle and her children

Meyers, a former Texas beauty queen living near Phoenix in Arizona, has never left the United States.

Myers has gone to sleep with blinding headaches and then woke up with different accents - Irish, Australian, and British. That, too, seemed to fade over the course of a few days, but when a headache sent her to sleep in 2015, the British accent she woke up with had stronger staying power.

What Myers experienced may be a case of a rare illness called Foreign Accent Syndrome, or FAS.

"Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins", Myers told ABC affiliate KNXV.

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Myers also suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder, though experts said there's no proof this contributed to the accent change.

Over the past seven years, Myers has spoken in various accents. It's not clear if this has any connection with her accent change.

According to researchers at the University of Texas, Foreign Accent Syndrome is a speech disorder that causes a sudden change to speech so that a native speaker is perceived to speak with a foreign accent and is most often caused by damage to the brain caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

She continued: "At first, they thought I was just joking around, because I am a amusing person".

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Myers's situation is especially peculiar since her accent doesn't sound like a speech disruption-on the contrary, it comes across as quite refined. Affected people may also cut out articles such as "the" and drop letters, turning an American "yeah" into a Scandinavian "yah", for instance. Several other sufferers of Foreign Accent Syndrome have captured worldwide attention in recent years, such as 48-year-old Terri White from Yorkshire in Northern England.

The rare condition usually accompanies a stroke, neurological damage, or underlying health issue.

"Some people think it's physiological; others think it's psychological", said Myers. Monrad-Krohn found her modified speech so strong that his trained ear took it for German or French.

With such a rare disease, there aren't many resources dedicated to research. She felt like a different person and it took her some time to define her identity. She now says the accent may actually be a good thing. "And if I say odd things like 'I'm just going to the loo, ' it's really weird, as I sound just like a Brit".

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