multiple personalities with different accents? Re: Foreign Accent Syndrome

Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Wed Nov 26 03:36:28 UTC 2003

Alice Faber wrote:

> Kim & Rima McKinzey said:
>>>Poster:       Grant Barrett <gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG>
>>>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.

In cases of  (alleged) multiple personality, some of the personalities
sometimes have accents different from the one the original personality
has.  (The official name has been changed to "Dissociative Identity
Disorder"  -- I suspect the change was made to cut down on arguments
among professionals over whether there really are multiple personalities.)

Have any of these accents been studied, to see how close they are to
what they're supposed to be?

Dan Goodman
Journal or
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

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