Foreign Accent Syndrome

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Tue Nov 25 21:07:27 UTC 2003

My father spoke very good Swedish, though born in Minnesota.  One winter in
Texas he met sailors on shore from a Swedish ship and spoke with them in
Swedish.  They conversed for a  while, and then one sailor asked my dad
where he was from in Sweden.  They said they couldn't place his accent but
assumed he was from some district they were unfamiliar with.  His accent,
of course, was American Swedish!

At 03:44 PM 11/25/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Kim & Rima McKinzey said:
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>Poster:       Grant Barrett <gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG>
>>>Subject:      Re: Foreign Accent Syndrome
>>>A supposed example of Foreign Accent Syndrome:
>>>"An American woman told how how she suddenly developed a British accent
>>>after suffering a stroke.
>>>"When Tiffany Roberts, 57, recovered from the stroke she found she had
>>>an accent placed somewhere between East London and the West Country.
>>>"Even the pitch of her voice changed, becoming much higher than the
>>>deep Indiana drawl she once had."
>>This was actually on the news last night.  To my ears, she did NOT
>>have a British accent.  There were a few words here and there that
>>might be interpreted as vaguely British in vowel quality, but that
>>was about it.
>A number of years ago, I read up on this syndrome for a class I was
>teaching. In general, what you observe is the case. Someone with this
>syndrome might sound to non-francophones like he or she is speaking
>with a French accent, but nobody who's actually familiar with a
>French accent would think so. Essentially, FAS gives fluent speech
>with a lot of phonological problems, so it sounds like the speaker
>has *some* kind of foreign accent, but, as far as I know, the
>perceived accent is never identifiable with any actual foreign accent.
>Alice Faber                                             faber at
>Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

More information about the Ads-l mailing list