Foreign Accent Syndrome

(FAS)

Definition

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare speech disorder. If you have FAS, you adopt what sounds like a foreign accent, even though you may never have traveled to that particular country.
Stroke—Common Cause of Foreign Accent Syndrome
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Causes

FAS is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the rhythm and melody of speech. The damage may be due to:FAS is also linked it to other symptoms, such as:
  • Aphasia —a communication disorder that can affect the ability to understand and express language
  • Speech apraxia —a speech disorder that affects the ability to make sounds, syllables, and words

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing FAS include:
  • Being at high risk for stroke
  • Having aphasia or apraxia

Symptoms

Those with foreign accent syndrome speak in a distorted rhythm and tone, such as:
  • Making vowel sounds longer and lower such as changing English “yeah” to German “jah”
  • Changing sound quality by moving the tongue or jaw differently while speaking
  • Substituting words or using inappropriate words to describe something
  • Stringing sentences together the wrong way
If you have FAS, you may be able to speak easily and without anxiety. Other people are able to understand you. The accent that you have adopted could be within the same language, such as American-English to British-English.Symptoms can last for months, years, or may be permanent.

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