Migraine: British speaks with a French accent

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British speaks after migraines with a French accent.

(16.09.2010) The British Kay Russel suddenly started talking with a French accent after a severe migraine attack. While her fellow men tend to smile at the accent, the British is by no means enthusiastic. She feels isolated and is looking for a possible explanation. The “Foreign Accent Syndrome” has been known to experts for a long time.

After a severe migraine attack, the people around Kay Russel noticed changes in their phonetics, which suggested Kay spoke in a French and sometimes also Eastern European accent. A phenomenon that, according to the experts, occurs more frequently and has long been studied under the name Foreign Language Accent Syndrome (FAS), as Sophie Scott from London University College emphasizes.

According to the experts, the language disorder in previous FAS patients almost always assumed a small-scale injury to the left brain. And also in the case of the 49-year-old British woman, enlarged blood vessels in the brain probably led to stroke-like paralysis and damage to the left side of the brain. So far, however, no special brain region that is responsible for the occurrence of the syndrome has been identified by the doctors. The accent-like pronunciation occurs in all those affected, and patients with German, Spanish, Italian or Irish accents have already been examined. As part of the treatment, however, the doctors were able to determine that the language patterns that occurred did not correspond to a certain accent, but only changed in the emphasis, which sometimes
sounds accented. Sophie Scott explained that the supposed accent is also due to the way people move their mouths or emphasize certain syllables.

Since FAS patients also often suffer from short-term dumbness at the beginning of the syndrome, but then quickly start speaking again, the scientists assume that FAS is not a learned way of bypassing brain damage or a damaged area in the brain, Rather, direct damage to the language center or the motor centers necessary for language can be assumed. (fp)

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Video: Americans Try to Speak French


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