Trip of the Tongue: Foreign Accent Syndrome

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare neurological disorder, in which patients develop what appears to be a foreign accent or language caused by damage to the left side of the brain where language is processed. Foreign accent syndrome usually results from a stroke, but can also develop from head trauma, migraines or developmental problems. The condition might occur due to lesions in the speech production network of the brain, or may also be considered a neuropsychiatric condition. Its symptoms result from distorted articulatory planning and coordination processes and although popular news articles commonly attempt to identify the closest regional accent, speakers suffering from foreign accent syndrome acquire neither a specific foreign accent nor any additional fluency in a foreign language. Presenting sample of some real cases, then discussion of the possible scientific explanation of such cases, and finally reviewing some case studies of them.


Amal Al-Bluwi

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