Posted by: patenttranslator | May 29, 2010

Foreign Accent Syndrome

There was an article in my local paper, a reprint from Washington Post. My local paper is called The Virginian-Pilot and the articles in it are so dreadfully boring and so predictably slanted that the only thing in it worth reading is usually a reprint from another paper or from a wire service, other than an occasional angry letter from a reader that somehow makes it to the op-ed page. The caption of the article read:“She hit her head. She woke up with a different accent.”

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare and unexplainable condition that was so far documented in less than 60 cases worldwide.  You have a stroke or somebody hits you over the head with a 2 x 4, and you wake up with a different accent. The language is grammatically correct, but the intonation and accent are different. If you Google “foreign language syndrome” you will find a number of cases on Youtube. I am posting some here.

If you listen to these accents and actually know something about a particular accent, you will see that these sufferers from the foreign accent syndrome have accents that may sound close to a Russian accent, for instance, but it is not really a Russian accent. I know what a real Russian accent sounds like and this is not it. Londoners would probably confirm that what is described in one clip as a “London” accent is nothing of the kind.

One possible explanation is that a certain region or site in the brain which is responsible for speech is affected by a stroke or an injury, which then affects the pronunciation of some people after the traumatic event. The only other explanation that I can think of is that these people who start speaking with a different accent were Russian, or lived in London, etc., in the life prior to the life they are living now. In other words: listen carefully to these new foreign accents acquired after a traumatic event. If these new accents are in fact indistinguishable from a Russian, Italian, or London accent, etc., this is proof positive that reincarnation exists. The only thing that would top that as evidence of reincarnation would be a sudden fluency in a new foreign language. This has not been reported so far … but who knows. It may happen one day.

We’d better be careful about how we behave in this life or we could be reborn in the next one as a snake or something.

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