Michelle Myers, a former American beauty queen, used to dread those days when she would just wake up to speak with a completely different accent. First, it was Irish, then Australian and then ultimately British. What was more shocking was that she never stepped out of the US in her life.
As bizarre as it may sound, this is actually a legit speech disorder disease called foreign accent syndrome, which makes people suddenly start talking with a foreign accent.
According to reports, she said that she sounded like the "like a Spice Girl" and her 16-year-old daughter even started calling her "mummy," rather than the US version, "mommy".
Michelle was diagnosed with this disease almost a year back. She used to have a splitting headache before her accent changed on its own. She used to be extremely afraid of going to the doctor and completely cut off herself from outside world for days.
"I found it really difficult to begin with and people would think it was a joke - saying things like, 'You sound like a Spice Girl,' or, 'Are you Mary Poppins?' It was hard, because I was really struggling," said Michelle, according to The Mirror
The mum-of-seven said she has come to terms with it and ultimately accepted that she will sound like this forever.
All you need to know about the disease
Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is often triggered by brain damage or by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Other causes of this disease are multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder. However, researchers haven't been able to pinpoint any cause for this rare disease.
It does not only change English accents, but cases recorded have shown accents getting changed from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American-English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian.
Some common speech changes that happen when someone suffers from FAS are speech errors, Vowel and consonant distortion, voicing errors, unusual prosody and trouble with consonant clusters.
Though not much is known about the disease, experts believe that a patient has to approach neurologist, neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist, and speech and language therapist.
Treatment should include speech and language, which will help in reducing the accent. Teaching the patient how to move lips and jaws properly can also help in rectifying the accent.
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