Foreign accent syndrome is a rare medical condition which occurs from a severe head injury, such as a stroke or head trauma. There has only been 60 reported cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome in the past 50 years.
It can also happen to people who have severe migraines, as brain damage is known to occur when people have severe migraines. There's also been a case of a woman who woke up from being a patient at the dentist, only to find she spoke in a strange Chinese sounding accent, even though she was German.
Brain damage that affects the cerebellum, the linguistic function of the brain is affected when people have Foreign Accent syndrome. People will improperly pronounce syllables and they have difficulty pronouncing their 'r's at the end of words. The cerebellum also controls motor function, and it is significantly affected with those who develop the syndrome.
There is one case of a woman from Windsor, ON, who, after suffering from a stroke, began speaking in a Newfoundland sounding accent. So it can occur for stroke victims as well, as stroke victims have brain damage.
Foreign accent syndrome can fade away in some people, but it can take weeks, months or years. In some it is permanent. There is no known cure for Foreign Accent Syndrome.
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