All posts tagged: Foreign Accent Syndrome

‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’ and the Tower of Babel

In 1941, a young Norwegian woman suffered a serious head injury after being hit by shrapnel during a German air raid during World War II. Though the woman recovered a bizarre thing happened when she began speaking Norwegian with a German accent. It was so noticeable that her fellow Norwegians began to avoid and shun her. She experienced what today is referred to as Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) that occurs when people who have experienced stroke or severe head trauma begin speaking their native tongue with a distinctive and recognizable accent. It is a rare condition, first mentioned in 1907 by a French Neurologist named Pierre Marie, and since 1941 there have been approximately 100 cases of FAS. In 2013, the BBC did a documentary on a woman from England who went to a hospital in 2010 after experiencing a severe migraine. When she woke up the next morning, Sarah Colwill was speaking with a Chinese accent, that was so noticeable that others mocked her accent and would ask her to make fried rice. In …