Ever gone to bed and woken up speaking with a different accent? If so, you may have Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS). Yes, this is a real thing! Mostly recently, The Washington Post reports that an Arizona woman, Michelle Myers, went to bed with severe headaches and woke up with different accents a number of times. She has come down with Australian and Irish accents that lasted about a month, and most recently a British accent that lasted two years. Myers says of her most recent accent:
“Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins.”
The Post says that “the disorder typically occurs after strokes or traumatic brain injuries damage the language center of a person’s brain — to the degree that their native language sounds like it is tinged with a foreign accent,” and “sufferers typically produce grammatically correct language, unlike many stroke or brain-injury victims…”
The condition was first documented in 1907 when a Parisian man suffered a stroke and woke up with a Alsatian accent. There have been about a 100 documented cases worldwide since it was first discovered. Last year, a woman from Texas woke up from surgery with a British accent. From ABC News:
“I was very shocked,” Alamia told ABC News. “I didn’t know how to take it. I was very confused. I said ‘ya’ll’ all the time before the accent. Once I got the accent, I started noticing I’d say, ‘You all.”
Some people afflicted with FAS naturally recover their original accents. Others may or may not find relief in behavioral therapy or speech therapy.