Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Woman Aquires New Accent After Stroke

Date:
July 6, 2008
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
A woman in southern Ontario is one of the first cases in Canada of a rare neurological syndrome in which a person starts speaking with a different accent, researchers reported in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.

A woman in southern Ontario is one of the first cases in Canada of a rare neurological syndrome in which a person starts speaking with a different accent, McMaster University researchers report in the July issue of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.

The puzzling medical phenomenon known as foreign-accent syndrome (FAS) arises from neurological damage, and results in vocal distortions that typically sound like the speaker has a new, "foreign" accent.

This particular case, however, is even more unusual because the English-speaking woman did not acquire an accent that sounds foreign but one that instead sounds like Maritime Canadian English.

The woman, referred to here as Rosemary, was recovering from a stroke two years ago, when her family noticed a change in her speech. They asked medical personnel at the Integrated Stroke Unit of Hamilton General Hospital why their mother was suddenly speaking with what sounded like a Newfoundland accent. It was at that point that the medical team joined forces with researchers in McMaster's Cognitive Science of Language program to study the case.

"It is a fascinating case because this woman has never visited the Maritimes, nor has she been exposed to anyone with an East Coast accent," says one of the study's authors, Alexandre Sévigny, associate professor of cognitive science in the Department of Communication Studies & Multimedia at McMaster University. "Her family lineage is Irish and Danish, and neither of her parents ever lived anywhere but in southern Ontario."

Karin Humphreys, the principal investigator in the study, and an assistant professor in McMaster's Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University, says that while the new accent was apparent to the woman's family the woman could not detect the changes herself. Despite intensive speech therapy the new accent persists, even two years later.

"Rosemary's speech is perfectly clear, unlike most stroke victims who have damage to speech-motor areas of the brain," says Humphreys. "You wouldn't guess that the speech changes are the result of a stroke. Most people meeting her for the first time assume she is from out East. What we are seeing in this case is a change in some of the very precise mechanisms of speech-motor planning in the brain's circuitry."

Sévigny says Rosemary's speech after the stroke became slow, and included changes in phonological segments (using "dat" for "that", and "tink" for "think") as well as the opening of some vowels and diphthongs ("greasy" was pronounced "gracey", and "dog" was pronounced to rhyme with "rogue".)

Humphreys says the research makes her wonder whether FAS might be under-reported because doctors rely on family members to alert them to speech changes post-stroke.

Funding for the study was provided in part by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Woman Aquires New Accent After Stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703101320.htm>.
McMaster University. (2008, July 6). Woman Aquires New Accent After Stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703101320.htm
McMaster University. "Woman Aquires New Accent After Stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703101320.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Sleeping, Anxiety Pills Linked To Alzheimer's

Common Sleeping, Anxiety Pills Linked To Alzheimer's

Newsy (Sep. 10, 2014) — Researchers found commonly prescribed sleeping and anxiety pills such as Xanax and Valium could lead to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins