Foreign Accent Syndrome
People from different origins and different places speak in their own accent. For example – Americans speak English in a different way than British people. But sometimes, it may be seen that a person starts speaking in a different accent in spite of of any visit to the place or without any connection with any local people there. For instance – a British speaking with New York accent. Such a condition is called “Foreign Accent Syndrome” .
What Causes Foreign Accent Syndrome?
“Foreign Accent Syndrome” is seen to occur due to brain injury generally. In rare cases it is also seen to occur as a developmental condition. A specific part of the brain controls the language-related activities. Any damage to this portion of the brain may cause mispronunciations or speaking in different pitch. Thus, the person appears speaking in a different accent (foreign accent). This change is caused by by wrong placement of tongue, uncontrolled rise and fall of the pitch or the timing of pronunciation of a word.
- Voicing errors (‘wabbit’ for ‘rabbit’ or ‘pike’ for ‘bike’ etc.)
- Prolong vowel pronunciations (for e.g.- ‘yeah’ for ‘yah’)
- substitutions of vowels
- deletions of some consonants
- insertions of ‘sss’, ‘uhh’ like sounds to words
- excess or little stress on words (different than their natural accent)
How to Detect Foreign Accent Syndrome:
Only 50 cases of FAS have been reported since 1941 to 2008 in America. This medical condition is quite rare to occur.
A team of medical professionals are engaged to diagnose a FAS case. They include:-
Neurologist (to detect any neurological disability)
Radiologist (to detect injury,functionality, structure or blood circulation in brain)
Psychologist (to study and analyse the psychology of the patient)
Speech-Language Pathologist (assesses reading, writing and language of the patient).
Speech and Language Therapy-
No cure is yet found out for Foreign Accent Syndrome. But Speech and Language therapy has shown some improvement in the patient. A trained therapist is appointed, who makes a thorough study of the patient’s condition. He gathers complete information on exposure to any foreign language, education pattern, family history and medical case study. Complete physical examination of the mouth and other related parts are done. Movement of jaw, tongue, lips are also studied. Then basing on the above analysis, a treatment plan is designed to improve the speech and language. Most of the treatment aims at reducing the accent to neutral talking.